Photo: A group from Endeavour Sports High creating their own anti-tobacco community service announcement as part of a TATU workshop.

Learning about the risks of smoking and the benefits of healthy choices through video and fitness training was part of a Talking About Tobacco Use (TATU) Smoke-Free schools workshop held at the NCIE in December.

TATU team member Pania Brown talking with students from Endeavour Sports High about the dangers of tobacco use.

A group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Endeavour Sports High in Sydney worked with TATU facilitators Murruun Leha and Pania Brown, first getting some hard but simple facts about smoking; the main one being that tobacco is the biggest preventable killer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Then it was up to the students to think up ways to spread messages of healthy choices to their communities.

First they brainstormed a community service announcement based on the information they’d learned and the conversations they’d had. Then it was off to the sports field to make it come to life, filming Puffy, TATU’s bad cigarette mascot being tackled in a mock game of anti-smoking footy!

The students tackled Puffy as part of their community service announcement.

Once they’d beaten Puffy, it was off to NCIE Fitness Centre for the second part of the workshop, a training session with NCIE Trainer Ricardo Nunes, who had put together a challenging workout.

TATU team member, Pania Brown believes the key to these workshops is to get kids interested and active.

“I think if you can get interactive with the kids and do something they actually know, it works really well.

“These boys are from a sporting school, so the idea of adapting the concept of tackling Puffy on the oval was just brilliant and it worked so well,” she said.

Her fellow TATU teammate, Murruun Leha agreed.

“The workshops are really rewarding for me and for the students, especially when you get them engaged in something they like to do and are interested in – they produce amazing results really quickly,” he said.

The final word goes to 16-year-old Kolby who described the workshop as, “…. hard! But it has helped us to understand how we can help our community. My favourite part was making the video.”

The workshop ended with a session from NCIE trainer, Ricardo Nunes.