Engaging youth is critical to making tobacco use a thing of the past. That’s why Truth Initiative® is offering a chance for a group of young people to attend the third annual National Summit on Youth Activism.

The National Summit on Youth Activism is a tobacco-control training program for youth and young adults from around the country. At the summit, July 19 to 22 in Washington, D.C., up to 150 high school students will spend four days focusing on new ways to engage, educate and empower the people in their community to end tobacco use. The 2017 summit will focus on the impact menthol tobacco products have on youth: Menthol cigarettes, which appeal to youth, are easier to smoke and harder to quit.

Participants learn about effective activism strategies, approaches to community engagement, traditional and new media outreach, and organizing through the lens of social justice. They commit to engage and train at least 100 youth in their respective communities during the 12 months that follow, with ongoing guidance and support from Truth Initiative advisors. By the final day, participants will have developed a project on how they would eradicate menthol tobacco advertising from their local communities.

Summit projects in action

Two 2016 National Summit on Youth Activism participants from California, Maria Garcia and Jaquelyn Gonzalez, created a project with the goal of getting rid of tobacco-related litter and creating a smoke-free environment in their local parks.

Their summit experience motivated them to hold three cigarette butt clean-up events, which collected over 1,000 cigarette butts. Next, they plan to launch a contest to design new “no smoking” signs to increase awareness of smoking policies in the community. They are also working on a video presentation to demonstrate their progress to community leaders, including the Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners of the City of Los Angeles.

“We were inspired to become tobacco control activists because it was something we felt compelled to do since [smoking] was a problem in our community,” Garcia and Gonzalez said. “The National Summit on Youth Activism has helped us have a voice in our community and realize how our efforts, no matter how small, can make a huge impact.”

How to apply

Applications for the 2017 National Summit on Youth Activism will be accepted until May 5. Apply today and be a part of the generation that will help #FinishIT and end tobacco use for good!

For more information, email Vincent Irving at [email protected].

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