TEG is a program the youth of Clay County are referred to when it is discovered that they are using or possess tobacco or tobacco products. It is an eight-hour program for students in grades 6-12 who violate school policy or legal ordinances in the community regarding underage tobacco use.
The Brazil Elks Lodge donated $500 and encouraged others to donate as well.
"The Elks Lodge is a community organization that often times sponsors other organizations," the Elks Lodge Drug Awareness Program Officer Ron Benefield said. "In this particular case, we wanted to do something that helped the community."
Brazil Family Dentistry made a separate donation of $500 in hopes that other local businesses and organizations will also donate to this program.
The Safe and Drug-Free Schools Grant previously funded the TEG. With less funding at both the Federal and State level, the grant is no longer available.
"Their grant had run out, making it even more important that organizations like us step up and help," Benefield said.
Through the Brazil Elks Lodge and the Brazil Family Dentistry, the group will be able to continue its goal of moving teenagers to want to quit using tobacco.
"Without this money, we would not be able to fund our program at all," TEG Director Andrea Herbert said. "We are very grateful to receive this money."
The Clay Community School system uses TEG as a positive alternative to suspension and as a diversion program for the court system. When students are found using tobacco products or have them in possession, they may attend the TEG free of charge after school hours during a scheduled group time, or they can choose to receive a school suspension and a tobacco ticket through the court system.
"This program is an intervention program," Herbert said. "It's very important because the students participating are already tobacco users, so by participating they are receiving information on why they should stop."
Each academic year, the TEG takes place six times, with up to 15 students referred to each group. It has been the policy of the Clay Community School system that students may attend the group only once in middle school and once in high school if necessary.