Congratulations to Capital District Reality Check member, Genevieve “Genny” Hart, on being named the Capital Region Youth Ambassador of the Year (YAYA). The award, sponsored by Reality Check of New York, honors the outstanding work of young people who are taking the lead toward a tobacco-free generation. Genny is a junior at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.

She’s been involved with Reality Check since October 2022, and has provided a vital youth perspective on the impact of tobacco marketing. She has shared the story of a friend who is addicted to vaping   at a Schenectady City Council meeting when the council was considering a moratorium on vape and smoke shops. Genny has educated her peers by creating posters about the “Scary Facts” of tobacco use that were used to educate two high school communities for Seen Enough Tobacco Day last October. She also wrote a letter to the editor that focused on these facts and on her firsthand experience with the problems of vaping in her school.

Genny was recognized for her activism on Tuesday Feb. 6 at the State Capitol by NYS Tobacco Control Program partners and received a citation from Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh.

Since 2001, youth from across New York State have worked to educate their communities about the harms of Big Tobacco. For more information about Reality Check of New York, visit