Eleven young leaders are mobilizing their peers as the new class of truth Ambassadors
Eleven young leaders from across the country have committed to making an impact with truth® by inspiring tobacco/vape-free lives as the new class of truth Ambassadors.
The truth Ambassador program is a year-long, paid, leadership program for one of the most successful public health campaigns in history. Ambassadors will work with Truth Initiative staff to recruit their peers, share their stories and experiences, and advocate to campus, local, state, and national decision makers to establish tobacco and vape-free communities.
As one of the youth leadership programs at Truth Initiative®, truth Ambassadors are young people who are passionate about tobacco control advocacy and mobilizing their peers to make their communities tobacco-free. Some of the 2022 ambassadors are former vapers who have used This is Quitting from truth to help them quit, as well as former Truth Initiative interns and College Leaders – individuals who helped organize their peers and build a movement to become a tobacco-free campus.
Ian Stuertz, California
Ian is a former vaper who struggled with mental health before using This is Quitting from truth. “I hope to work with teenagers and young adults who feel hopeless and help them find the strength to live a fulfilling, balanced life while standing up to a broken system,” Ian says.
Ashlyn Parker, Texas
Ashlyn is a former vaper who wants to help other people who are battling nicotine addiction. “Quitting nicotine made me realize how much the addiction was affecting my entire body and I feel people my age need more education on how nicotine works after you vape it,” she says. “I want to make an impact in this program by bringing a community together on my college campus by doing a variety of fun events centered around education on nicotine and addiction.”
Ethan Harrer, Ohio
Ethan seeks to engage his peers on the dangers of nicotine addiction and the intersectionality with mental health, social justice, and the environment. He believes that peer-to-peer engagement on these issues does not happen enough and aims to change that. “I want to see a lot of public speaking opportunities, event coordination, and other forms of recruitment to their full potential,” he says.
Marc J Hawk III, Alabama
Marc wanted to become a truth Ambassador because he is passionate about making his community tobacco-free. “Being a truth Ambassador will allow me to mobilize my peers, family, and friends to make their lives free of tobacco use,” he says.
Samuel Rose, South Carolina
Samuel wants to make an impact on stopping vaping and fight other issues in his generation. He wants to make an impact locally, nationally, and hopefully globally in this fight. “I am prepared to make a difference,” he says.
Imara Walker, Mississippi
Imara is a former College Leader at Jackson State Mississippi who felt that her work was not over. She was motivated to continue her activism by her peers on campus who showed interest in the work. “I see myself using the resources and networking that this program will give me to help me make a more lasting impact on my campus and community by helping the mental health of the general population of residents, which are majority black,” she says.
Laila Darville, Tennessee
Laila saw the effects vaping nicotine had on her friends' daily lives and the toll it takes on their mental health. “I want to advocate for the use of other coping mechanisms and educate my peers on stress relievers that don't fund an industry that cares nothing about them,” she says.
Alyssa Badolato, New Hampshire
Alyssa wants to continue to tell her story as a former vaper to help others. “It’s a beautiful thing to be able to bond with people and create a community of like-minded individuals that look out for each other,” she says. “I hope to reach as many people as I can and teach them the tips and tricks that have helped me better myself mentally and physically.”
Nicolle Vilca, New Jersey
Nicolle wants to have a platform to advocate for her peers and those around her against consuming addictive substances. She also wants to contribute to people's lives by helping them navigate the journey of quitting once and for all.
Yashi Srivastava, New Jersey
Yashi wants to advocate for healthy lifestyles and educate others about the harmful consequences of vaping. “I see myself making an impact in this program by not only educating others but understanding everyone's unique situations,” she says. “I see myself leading and executing prevention events but also having meaningful conversations with individuals about smoking & vaping.”
Jordan Watkins, Alabama
Jordan is a Doctoral student who seeks to address systemic issues by supporting social justice initiatives, inspiring change, and encouraging her peers to use their voice to fight for what is important in their communities. “I envision my impact as a truth Ambassador to play a pivotal role as I learn and expand my terrain for advocacy,” she says.