Join Reality Check

What is the Reality Check teen program?

Capital District Reality Check is a youth-led, adult-supported program that empowers young people to become leaders in making community changes that support tobacco-free choices. With chapters all across New York State, Reality Check youth act to expose the ways in which the tobacco industry targets youth by making their deadly products, sweet, cheap and easy to get, protect the environment from toxic tobacco waste, and clear the air we breathe of harmful tobacco smoke and vape aerosols. 

Are you between the ages of 13-18? Do you want to make positive change in your community, build skills, meet people, and have a lot of fun doing it? Check out the rest of this page and our Youth Taking Action page. If you like what you see and think you or a young person you know might like to join, click the Register Here button below. Or feel free to Contact Us for more information.

Why involve youth?

  • Young people can be catalysts for change. Youth perspectives and experiences are too often missing from the conversations that determine what their communities will look like. But when young people <strong>step up and speak up</strong>, people notice, and decision-makers listen.
  • Making change takes energy and youth have plenty of it. Their natural enthusiasm and passion are often the spark that keeps social progress moving forward.
  • We believe that good starts young. We want to encourage young people and give them the tools they need to make a positive difference.

What have Reality Check youth accomplished?

  • Our youth-adult partnerships have accomplished amazing things in the Capital Region, including actions that have led to:
    • Creating tobacco-free parks
    • Removing tobacco products from pharmacy shelves
    • Raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21
    • Implementing a local law to keep tobacco retailers away from schools.
  • Every neighborhood is different, and every youth group is unique, so you never know what community actions and activities will be next.

If your school or youth serving organization is interested in partnering with our program, please Contact Us and let us know.

What’s in it for youth?

  • Skill-building: Involvement in local activism strengthens leadership, critical thinking and collaboration skills.
  • Social and community connections: Working together with others toward a mutual goal is a great way to make friends and develop relationships with people in and outside of the school community.
  • Personal power: Every person has the capacity to make a positive difference. Young people can use their unique talents and interests to make the world a better place.

Meet and connect with youth from across New York 

Each year, Capital District Reality Check youth have opportunities to meet up with peers from across New York State to share ideas, learn from each other, and enjoy strength in numbers. 

Each February, the NYS Tobacco Control Program holds a Legislative Education Day where youth gather at the Capitol to celebrate the previous year’s achievements and to meet with state legislators to share their perspectives and experiences. Learn more about this day of action on our Youth Taking Action page.

In the summer, youth converge from across the state to attend the New York State Tobacco-Free Youth Summit, a 3-day event where Reality Check youth can learn, build skills, share ideas and, of course, have fun. The summit culminates with the youth attendees planning and staging a community education event. Check out the photos to the right for a taste of the Youth Summit experience.

Meet Our Reality Check Members






Meet Our Reality Check Alumni Here