May. 11 2000
Washington, DC — The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS today announced the national, regional and group winners of the 2000 Youth Advocates of the Year Awards, an annual competition that honors young people who have made outstanding contributions to tobacco prevention. The national winner, five regional winners, and group winner will be recognized tonight, May 11, at a gala dinner in the nation's capital.
The Youth Advocates of the Year Awards program, now in its fifth year, recognizes the powerful role of young leaders in solving the national epidemic of youth tobacco use. The importance of youth leadership is underscored by the fact that almost 90 percent of adult smokers began at or before age 18. Every day, 6,000 kids in America smoke cigarettes for the first time, and 3,000 become regular smokers. One-third of these regular smokers will die prematurely from tobacco-caused disease.
This year's National Youth Advocate of the Year is Raymond Lader, 17, of Punta Gorda, FL, an 11th grader at Charlotte High School. Ray, a former smoker himself, became an anti-tobacco advocate after losing his father and several family friends to tobacco-related illnesses. He is a familiar figure at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee, where he has lobbied for tobacco settlement funds to be spent on tobacco prevention and for other tobacco control legislation. Ray helped organize his high school's chapter of SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) and currently serves as its president. With SWAT colleagues, he has produced and performed puppet shows and "Jam" (question and answer) sessions about the effects of tobacco use for more than 2,600 students in the community. Ray has also worked to convince local restaurants to go smoke-free and personally raised over $3,300 for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life event, while also serving as the event's logistics chair. This summer, he is organizing a SWAT Summerfest, a tobacco-free concert featuring several local bands.
Regional winners are:
East: Chaney Davis, 16, of Dover, NH, an 11th grader at Dover High School. Chaney has been active for six years in the Dover Youth to Youth (Y2Y) organization, which won the 2000 Youth Advocates of the Year Group Award. As a member of Dover Y2Y, Chaney takes part in retail compliance checks to ensure tobacco products are not being sold to minors and has produced and performed radio public service announcements heard throughout the state. As one of the lead organizers of the New Hampshire TRUTH tour, she has developed tobacco prevention presentations for a variety of school groups. She speaks regularly to D.A.R.E. classes and over the past five years has helped to write and produce eight original anti-tobacco theatrical presentations performed primarily in elementary schools. Chaney has testified before the New Hampshire House of Representatives on the need to allocate tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and is a member of the Youth Advisory Board for the state of New Hampshire.
South: Dana Davis, 17, of Kingsport, TN, an 11th grader at Gateway Christian Academy. Dana became an anti-tobacco advocate after the death of her grandfather from tobacco-related causes. She has lobbied state lawmakers to allocate tobacco settlement funds for tobacco prevention and planned a billboard and media campaign to support these efforts. She is the founder of her own tobacco prevention and awareness program, called "Dana and Co." consisting of puppet shows, songs and ventriloquism, that has reached 18,000 young people throughout Tennessee. Dana has also been active for three years in the Kingsport Youth Tobacco Prevention Program, serving as the only teen representative in the group.
Central: Sarah Schulman, 15, of Austin, TX, an 11th grader at Travis High School. Sarah has been an anti-tobacco advocate since she was seven years old, when she spoke on the steps of the Texas State House and urged lawmakers to support tobacco education and prevention programs. Her leadership positions include: serving as youth advocate, legislative spokesperson and motivational speaker for the American Cancer Society at state and local levels; spokesperson for the Texas Department of Health Legislative Action and member of the department's Adolescent Health Advisory Committee; and youth board member for the American Lung Association's Teens Against Tobacco Use Program. She also received a grant from the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, which she used to train more than 40 students in peer tobacco prevention and education. Sarah is currently participating in the American Legacy Foundation's national TRUTH tour.
Midwest: Simon Stumpf, 16, of Pierz, MN, a 10th grader at Healy High School. Simon was motivated to become an anti-tobacco advocate after seeing firsthand the risk that secondhand tobacco smoke posed to his younger brother, who had a serious respiratory illness. He is president of the Kick Butts program at his school, organizing tobacco cessation programs for peers and teachers and creating tobacco education programs for elementary school students. His group has raised funds and public awareness through a variety of activities, notably its "Callin' it Quits" award for restaurants that offer smoke-free dining. They have sponsored TV public service announcements, organized anti-smoking poster contests and met with County Commissioners and other policy makers to urge better tobacco prevention and control. Working with the Minnesota Smoke-Free Coalition, Simon trains other teens around the state, participates in retail compliance checks and works on anti-tobacco advertising campaigns. He helped plan the recent Minnesota State Anti-Tobacco Summit.
West: Shannon Brewer, 15, of Spokane, WA, a 10th grader from Shadle Park High School. Shannon was recently appointed by Washington's Secretary of Health to be the youth representative on the state's Tobacco Prevention and Control Council, which is charged with developing and implementing a tobacco prevention plan with the state's tobacco settlement funds. In addition to participating in monthly meetings, press conferences and statewide forums, Shannon has testified before the Washington House of Representatives and met with legislators about the plan. She also helped to create SOUL (Saving Ourselves from Unfiltered Lies), a statewide youth-led anti-tobacco movement, and in February helped to organize SOUL Stomp, an anti-tobacco rally of more than 1,000 kids on the steps of the Washington Capitol. Shannon has also been active in Spokane Teens Against Tobacco (STAT), Tobacco-Free Washington, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the American Legacy Foundation. She has participated in retail compliance checks, planned anti-tobacco peer education programs and successfully lobbied for approval of an outdoor tobacco advertisement ban throughout Spokane County.
The 2000 Youth Advocates of the Year Group Award will be presented to the Dover, NH, Youth to Youth (Y2Y) organization. Composed of 250 middle school and high school students, Dover Y2Y has participated in retail compliance checks; produced award-winning radio public service announcements that are broadcast throughout the state; testified before state legislators; presented workshops at state conferences; and visited other communities to help them establish or improve anti-tobacco peer advocacy groups. The group considers one of its greatest accomplishments to be the enactment of a Dover city ordinance making it illegal to sell tobacco rolling papers to minors. Dover Y2Y drafted and lobbied for the ordinance after conducting a survey of local stores that showed how easy it was for minors to purchase rolling papers. Dover Y2Y's advisor is Captain Dana Mitchell, Community Programs Coordinator of the Dover Police Department.
The 2000 winners will be honored at a gala dinner beginning at 7 p.m. on May 11at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Model Christy Turlington, a former smoker turned tobacco prevention advocate, will serve as Master of Ceremonies. More than 600 people are expected to attend, including members of Congress, the Clinton administration, and public health, business and civic leaders. Olympic figure skating champion and CAMPAIGN spokesperson Tara Lipinski will speak and singer/songwriter/ producer Richard Marx will perform at the awards ceremony. The gala will be preceded by a silent auction of celebrity-donated items such as a script from the last episode of Seinfeld, autographed by the entire cast; a script of "Tuesdays with Morrie" signed by Ted Koppel; and a baseball autographed by Derek Jeter.
The gala's national dinner committee co-chairs are Manfred Scheske, President, North America, SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, and David Tanzer, President and CEO, PRIMEDIA Consumer Magazines. Martha Boudreau, Senior Vice President and Senior Partner, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, and Nancy M. Folger are co-chairing the Washington, D.C. dinner committee.
Winners will receive educational scholarships in recognition of their valuable contributions to tobacco prevention and grants to help them continue their tobacco prevention efforts.
In their year-long roles, the Youth Advocates of the Year serve as spokespersons for the CAMPAIGN, sharing their views on tobacco control issues with their peers and adults, working to increase awareness of the tobacco industry's tactics aimed at youth and encouraging kids across the country to become more active against tobacco use in their communities.
"These young leaders truly represent the best and brightest advocates from across the nation," said Matthew L. Myers, Campaign president. "They have all made great strides in fighting tobacco addiction among youth in their schools and communities."
A selection committee of representatives from national public health, education and religious organizations reviewed more than 120 nominations and selected the winners based on their initiative, leadership abilities, creative thinking and problem solving skills, ability to communicate ideas effectively and impact on state or local tobacco prevention policies.
The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest non-governmental initiative undertaken to reduce youth tobacco use in the United States.