Breathe Better Bus
From the moment the Breathe Better Bus pulls up, it is clear that this is not your ordinary classroom. The hand-painted exterior, complete with seasonal messaging on air and breathing captivates observers and draws them aboard. Once inside the 40-foot natural gas bus, the visual stimulation invites children and adults to touch, hear, and interact with learning stations on asthma, smoking, indoor asthma triggers, outdoor air quality, and lung health.
The Bus contains six interactive learning stations that teach the importance of lung health, with a primary focus on asthma and tobacco prevention. In five years time, the Breathe Better Bus has visited over 40,000 children and 4,000 adults. The Bus travels the Colorado Front Range visiting schools, churches, businesses and community health fairs. The Bus uses all of the senses to promote lung health, knowledge of asthma, and to reinforce youth tobacco prevention messages. The actual cost per student is less than a movie or the potential future purchase of one day’s worth of cigarettes. And it is fun. Children marvel at their faces being photographed and then morphed into a wrinkled image of what they would look like after 20 years of smoking. They compare real, functional, healthy lungs with those that have seen years of tobacco use and the associated cancers and tumors. They choose their alternative mode of transportation as they learn about vehicle pollution. A model home is spun from room to room while students identify indoor air pollutants including secondhand smoke and receive a cough or audible round of applause for their efforts. It is 30 minutes of engaging, life changing, interaction.
Organization Mission Statement:
Improving the quality of life of children and adults, with asthma and allergies, through patient care, education, and community resources. – Breathe Better Foundation mission, 1993
Organization Goals and Objectives: The most significant result yet difficult to measure is future lives saved due to a students increased knowledge and awareness of the health effects of smoking and how to effectively manage asthma. The Breathe Better Bus’ primary goal is to provide educational outreach promoting awareness, prevention and management of lung disease, tobacco use and management of asthma for high-risk children, families and the Colorado community.
Program Goals and Objectives:
1. Increase knowledge by the Colorado community - that asthma is a disease that can be properly managed and controlled.
2. Immediate response by 99% of child visitors to never smoke!
3. Increase children and adult visitor’s knowledge that asthma can be properly managed and when under good control, children will miss fewer school days, parent(s)/guardian(s) will miss fewer work days and health care costs associated with asthma will substantially decrease.
4. Provide free lung tests as part of the screening at community health fairs and assist families with smoking cessation, asthma education and linkage with local health clinic and community resources.
Measures of Success:
1. Tracking the number of participants and site visits.
2. Written feedback from student learners about their experience is captured.
3. A pre- and post test analysis regarding issue specific information about asthma and smoking is facilitated.
4. Teacher and group leader summaries are collected that report on the student experiences.
5. Parent volunteer feedback that the Breathe Better Bus is an important program for a child’s development