30 Youth Leaders Tapped for 2015-16 Youth Activism Fellowships

Truth Initiative has selected 30 young leaders to participate in its 2015-16 Youth Activism Fellowship program. The new class of fellows ranges in age from 17 years old to 23 years old. They come from diverse backgrounds, have varying levels of experience as tobacco control activists, and represent 20 states from California to Virginia.

The Youth Activism Fellowship is a 12-month program designed to train young leaders on tobacco control, activism, and social justice. The program develops fellows’ skills and challenges them to conceive, design and execute a local project to address tobacco use in their community.  Past projects have included awareness campaigns to educate about the health consequences of tobacco use, culturally relevant materials for Native Americans and adoption of tobacco-free policies and practices on college campuses.

Why focus on youth activists? More than 80 percent of adult smokers try their first cigarette by the age of 18. This makes it particularly important to engage young people in efforts to change social norms around tobacco use.

“We have selected an outstanding group of young activists who will begin a year-long journey of learning and growth," said Ritney Castine, Truth Initiative’s director of Youth Activism.

“By harnessing their unique perspectives individually and collectively, we will be able to tackle the tobacco epidemic in ways that we could never accomplish alone.”

The 2015-16 Youth Activism Fellows include:

•             Ainsley Braden (22) of Brookhaven, Mississippi

•             Alexander Udulutch (19) of Oshkosh, Wisconsin

•             Audrey Klunenberg (18) of Denver, Iowa

•             Brendan Bialy (19) of Vestal, New York

•             Brenton Logan (22) of Richmond, Virginia

•             Brianne Nagamine (20) of Hanapepe, Hawaii

•             Bryce Moore (17) of Gulfport, Mississippi

•             Christi Nance (21) of Kansas City, Kansas

•             Colind Welker (24) of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

•             Daisy Alvarado (18) of El Paso, Texas

•             Daniel Giuffra (20) of St. Louis, Missouri

•             Darrien Skinner (20) of San Marcos, Texas

•             Derek Holland (22) of Baltimore, Maryland

•             Derrick Young (21) of Melrose, Massachusetts

•             Deshanda Smarr (18) of Atlanta, Georgia

•             Elizabeth Brown (19) of Eudora, Kansas

•             Emily Zeng (20) of Edmonds, Washington

•             Joanna Hejl (17) of Lincoln, Nebraska

•             Jordan Smith (20) of Saint Louis, Missouri

•             Joshua Ryun (18) of Wilmington, Delaware

•             Julia Osagie (18) of Tallahassee, Florida

•             Kailie Renovato (18) of Safford, Arizona

•             Kimberly Ababseh (23) of San Bruno, California

•             Lincoln Mondy (21) of Farmersville, Texas

•             Margaret Linscott (19) of Norfolk, Virginia

•             Morgan Mathews (21) of Horsehead, New York

•             Olivia Monaghan (20) of Crofton, Nebraska

•             Quamiir Trice (21) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

•             Rakiah Anderson (23) of Pasadena, California

•             Wesley Sapp (20) of Anthony, Florida