Billboard campaign hovers over Smoketown neighborhood, encouraging healthier lifestyles for its residents
With help from a $6,000 grant from Metro Government, the non-profit has put up several billboards over the last year.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the last eight months, Clevetta Thomas quit smoking, lost ten pounds and brought her sugar levels back into a healthy diabetic range.
And she said she did it all for her 5-year-old daughter.
"Quitting was hard, but now I'm healthy for the both of us," Thomas said.
Their story shines down from a billboard near the intersection of Kentucky and Shelby Streets for all in Smoketown to see, the concept for the "What's Your Why" campaign. The pilot project partners the IDEAs XLab non-profit with the Louisville Metro Public Health Department.
"We wanted to ask people that quit smoking or impacted their diabetes ... why did they do that?" said Hannah Drake, Cultural Producer with IDEAS XLab. "What was their reason for starting?"
The Smoketown neighborhood has high health gaps. In fact, officials say a 2017 study showed people in the zip code lived eight to nine years fewer than other neighborhoods in Louisville. The Louisville Metro Public Health Department is measuring people in smoking and diabetes classes, seeing if health outcomes are different in Smoketown than other neighborhoods.
Organizers hope the "What's Your Why" billboards will pour positivity into the neighborhood and replace what they call "negative advertising" that fills poorer communities.
"We wanted people in this community to see that other people, their neighbors, right next door to them did the exact same thing," Drake said.
With help from a $6,000 grant from Metro Government, the non-profit has put up 24 billboards over the last year. The five in this campaign will run through June, each one with a living testimony.
"I'm no different than anybody else," Thomas said. "Just take the step. You can do it."
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