Youth Engagement

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 step up and speak up, 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’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.

What have we 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 activities will be next.

To view a list of our current school and community partners, click here.

Meet our Youth Engagement Coordinator:

Cara Zampi has been the youth engagement coordinator in the Capital District since July 2017. Her primary roles are to engage, train, and mobilize Capital District middle and high school students, to bring about positive community changes to improve public health. She strongly believes that young people have a stake in tobacco-free living and have the most to gain by making their neighborhoods healthier places to live, learn, work and play.

What is the Reality Check teen program?

Reality Check is a youth-led, adult supported program that engages teens across New York State in order to create community changes that better support tobacco-free choices. Our Reality Check program here in the Capital District empowers youth to become leaders in the movement to expose the ways in which the tobacco industry targets youth by making their deadly products, sweet, cheap and easy to get.

See how we’ve engaged youth at events throughout the community by clicking here.

Meet our current RC members

PRAAGHYA MEYYAN

RISHITA NAGOTHI

YASMIN TORRES

HANNAH MULHERN

How to Join Reality Check:

In order to become an official Capital District Reality Check member and be eligible to travel for RC statewide events, students must be ages 13-18 years old. If you are a parent or guardian of a middle or high school student who is interested in participating in the Reality Check program of the Capital District Reality Check program click the register here button below.

Please fill out the pdf form electronically and email completed form to Cara.Zampi@sphp.com.