Three Tri-Valley students were among 133 students from across the country named National Youth and Young Adults Ambassadors for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids for fighting tobacco use in their communities.
The local honorees were Connor Lam and Sophia Thompson from Pleasanton and Akshaj Molukutla from Danville.
“The Youth and Young Adult Ambassadors were selected through a competitive application process and participated in the Digital Advocacy Symposium to become powerful advocates for change,” Tobacco-Free Kids officials said in a statement. “In addition to gaining advocacy and communications skills, these young leaders learned about how tobacco use is a social justice issue because of tobacco-related health disparities due to the tobacco industry’s longtime targeting of minority populations.”
Lam, 14, worked for the past year with the Pleasanton Student Inter-Action Committee focusing on policy change for tobacco control at the local and state level with a concentration on flavored tobacco products.
According to Tobacco-Free Kids, Lam will continue his involvement in policy change and further his advocacy to bring awareness and action to tobacco control issues in the Tri-Valley.
Also from Pleasanton, 14-year-old Thompson serves as a member of her local Youth Advisory Council. For the past year, she has been involved in tobacco control and prevention.
With her membership in the ambassador program, Thompson will enhance her leadership and advocacy skills for tobacco control awareness, specifically in the Tri-Valley.
13-year-old Molukutla from Danville has been engaged in tobacco control and prevention for one year by working with CourAGE Contra Costa, who took part in a tobacco prevention campaign.
These three students will be participating in the Ambassador program, which will consist of a five-day online training session to improve their advocacy, communication, and leadership skills.
Youth ambassadors will work with the Tobacco-Free Kids campaign to assist in advocating for effective federal, state, and local policies to reduce youth tobacco use. These policies entail abolishing the sale of all flavored tobacco products, like e-cigarettes, that are considered addicting to kids.