#TalkNow Event Planning Guide

Goals:

Educate parents about the dangers, prevalence and signs of vaping

Equip parents with information to talk with their kids

Encourage parents to talk with their neighbors and friends

The goal of this event is to create a wave of information that ripples throughout your school community, so that we can give kids the information they need to make healthy choices about vaping. We need to encourage parents to talk with their children and fellow community members. Presentations about vaping are compelling and will motivate parents to share information. 

The key – and the bulk of your prep time – will be to get as many people to attend the presentation as possible. We have found that an old-school approach – personal phone calls – works like magic, and strongly encourage your PTA to build in time to call as many parents as possible. Added bonus: building a phone call network will help you generate bigger crowds for all your meetings and events!

October: Schedule Your Event 

Think about what kind of event you’d like to have. Would you like this to be a parent program as part of a PTA meeting? Should this be a stand-alone event for parents? Would you like to use the time to build community among your families by pairing it with dinner or a potluck? Would you like to include a panel of older students/student leaders to share their experiences with vaping?

Next, schedule your guest speaker. Ask what they will cover in their presentation and how much time they’ll need. Your speaker may wish to allow only parents/adults at the event so s/he can display various vaping products and photos of clothes used to conceal them. We recommend contacting either:

  1. Your pyramid’s Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist. Sixteen high schools have a SAPs whose role it is to educate students, staff and families, and to assist students and parents in finding help for addiction treatment. The SAPs serves all feeder schools in his/her pyramid, and many are assigned to pyramids/schools without SAPs. Ask your principal for contact information; SAPs are FCPS employees. There is no fee for this presentation.
  2. The Fairfax County Health Department has a School Health Promotion team of eight public health nurses who provide health programming to schools and the community. Contact Kristy Vitter to schedule a speaker at kristy.vitter@fairfaxcounty.gov). There is no fee for this presentation.

Four weeks before #TalkNow

  • Meet with your board and/or volunteers to discuss the plans for the evening. Decide whether you’ll provide dinner, discuss the need for volunteers to personally invite as many parents as possible, and list any additional supplies you’ll need (flyers to promote upcoming PTA events, etc).
  • Determine and assign volunteer responsibilities
  • Prepare marketing materials (customize them and add your PTA logo)
  • Confirm with your principal or parent liaison which languages your parents speak
  • Arrange for translators and headphones if needed
  • Arrange for projector, screen and microphone and/or other equipment requested by speaker

Three weeks before #TalkNow

  • Advertise event through flyers home, email blurbs, stickers on kids (some PTAs print mailing labels to use as stickers), social media, PTA newsletter
  • Organize phone lists and have volunteers begin calling parents to personally invite them to the event. For elementary schools, prioritize 4th, 5th and 6th grade parents. Middle schools try to reach all grades. High school, prioritize 9th and 10 grade parents. 
  • Ask your parent liaison to contact families if possible

Two weeks before #TalkNow

  • Determine how the space will be set up and request tables/chairs/etc. from administration
  • Continue phone calls to personally invite parents
  • Invite local reporters to event (such as Connections, Fairfax Times, etc.)

One week before #TalkNow

  • Send reminder email to parents, hand out flyers in kiss and ride, post in social media, send flyers in folders home, whatever works best at your school
  • Continue phone calls to personally invite parents (by this time your volunteers should give you enough feedback to determine if you need to move presentation to a larger room)
  • Ask principal to send email inviting all parents

Day of Talk About Vaping Now

  • Post directional signs (in multiple languages if needed)
  • Provide sign in table with nametags
  • Set up food if providing
  • Set up mic, podium, av equipment and water for guest speaker
  • Set up interpreter and translation headphones
  • Set up Check In (collect emails at sign-in) and PTA information table
  • Position PTA Board Members to greet parents 
  • Take pictures for social media
  • Ask parents to take fact sheets and share with two friends/neighbors

Day after Talk About Vaping Now

  • Send email to all parents to thank the community for attending. Include links to more information and fact sheet. Include photos if appropriate. 
  • Share photos on social media.
  • Gather feedback from volunteers to share with other PTAs
  • Follow up with presenter if s/he has additional information to share (then you can email additional information to the people who signed in)

Materials

These are provided to help save time; feel free to customize these or create your own!

Please find:

  • Invitation copy for email/newsletter/flyer
  • Social media copy
  • Phone call talking points
  • Fact sheet
  • Post-event survey
  • Talk About Vaping Now logos in color and b/w

Invitation  – copy and paste this information into emails, newsletters and flyers

Parents: Talk About Vaping Now. Prevent Problems Later.

Vaping* is a growing national epidemic that affects children as young as elementary school. In Fairfax County an estimated 1 in 5 children have “vaped” in the past 30 days.

Research shows that parents are the number one influence on their kids. Parents who share facts and express disapproval of vaping can help prevent their kids from starting.

Let’s help stop the vaping epidemic in its tracks. Join the [NAME] PTA to learn what vaping is, what e-cigarette devices look like and how they work, and tips on talking with kids.

Please join us for this important event:

[Time, Day, Date, Location]

Remember: even if your child doesn’t vape, s/he may know a friend who does. By knowing the facts about vaping your child can help educate and protect their friends. Please help spread the word about this epidemic and how we can stop it.

*Vaping is the inhalation of an aerosol through a battery-powered device such as an e-cigarette, vape pen, or pod. The aerosol may contain nicotine, THC (the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana), and/or flavoring. 

Social Media Copy (animated graphic available on FCCPTA FB page)

When it comes to preventing vaping, we’re all in this together. Please learn how you can help stop the epidemic, at home and in our community. [Event time/place]

Has your child developed a sudden cough? Is s/he more thirsty than usual? These are some of the short-term side effects of vaping. Learn how to spot them, and what to do, [Event time/place]

One vape cartridge = 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. Nicotine + teenage brain in development = problems. Learn more [Event time/place]

Suggested Talking Points for Phone Calls

  • Hello, my name is _________ and I’m a volunteer with _________ PTA.
  • I’m calling to invite you to an important program we’re having for parents. Have you heard about the problem with vaping among kids? Vaping means using an electronic device to inhale an aerosol containing nicotine or THC, the chemical in marijuana. It’s been in the news lately, as young people have developed permanent lung diseases and some have even died as a result of vaping.
  • Our PTA wants to protect our kids, so we’re asking parents to come together and get information to share with their families. 
  • The meeting is Time/Day/Date. Would you be able to join us?
  • Thank you. We’ll see you there!

Fact Sheets

2019 version of this (avail soon): https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health-humanservices/sites/health-humanservices/files/assets/documents/youth%20survey/ys%20fact%20sheets/fcys%20fact%20sheet%20-%20tobacco%20-%202017%20final.pdf

Additional Fact Sheets available here

Post Event Survey

What is one thing you learned tonight that you will take home with you?

Were you aware of vaping before this event?

Do you plan to talk with your child(ren) about vaping?

Name one thing we can do to improve this information session.