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2016 National Summit on Youth Activism concludes

Truth Initiative recently held its second annual National Summit on Youth Activism, a summer tobacco-control training program for youth who are recruited to attend from community-serving organizations around the country.

Seventy high school students from 23 states, ranging in age from 15 to 19, convened in Orlando, Fl, for the 2016 summit. 

“I think we were able to motivate them to take on a huge problem – making this the generation that ends tobacco use – with the conviction they will succeed and the knowledge that they’ll have our guidance and assistance,” said Ritney Castine, a Managing Director of Truth Initiative’s Community and Youth Engagement program, which created the summit.

“They built a community with each other, and that’s important – to build and cultivate a community and the spirit of activism,” he added.

The summit included sessions on the basics of youth tobacco use patterns, tobacco control strategies, tobacco as a social justice issue, activism and advocacy principles, partnerships and collaboration, tobacco and smoking in video games, and more. They spent time in hands-on workshops honing on-camera, social media and storytelling skills.

Participants also developed local project plans for their communities. Each participant committed to engage and train at least 100 youth in his or her community within the next 12 months, with support from Truth Initiative community and youth engagement team members.

Last year, one group of Truth Initiative® youth activists organized Philadelphia’s first youth tobacco prevention summit around the goal of making the city the first to end tobacco use. In May, three of the Truth Initiative® youth activists who attended the 2015 summit were honored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids as 2016 Youth Advocates of the Year.