What motivated you to form a TRU Group?
Our Youth In Action Against Tobacco Council (YIAATC) was established in December 2006. We are a group of 15 middle/high school youth from county-wide schools in Rowan County that meet monthly and plan youth tobacco activities and events to educate youth on the dangers of tobacco use.
Why is it important to stay tobacco-free?
It's important for us to stay tobacco free because most of us are leaders in our school and athletes. Many of us are involved in sports, and we can't let tobacco drag us down. We have strong goals and dreams and are very passionate about working with teens to encourage them to live a tobacco free lifestyle. Others of us in the group sing, and are actors in Piedmont Players play, so we can't let tobacco get in the way of our dreams.
How are you spreading the message of TRU?
We host TATU, tobacco 101, media literacy, and smoking in the movies trainings in our middle and high schools in Rowan County. We've even been invited to church youth groups and other youth programs in the county. We wear TRU gear each time we're doing an event or TATU training.
What is your group doing to promote tobacco-free lifestyles?
Our group has been very active in promoting tobacco free lifestyles. We have trained youth in various tobacco prevention topics, movie promotional tabling, community festivals, TRU lunch and learns, Tackle Smoking Projects at high schools, parades and many other events in Rowan county.
What has been your group’s most important accomplishment regarding the tobacco-free movement?
Our greatest accomplishment is the middle school TRU club's Tobacco Free Quiz Bowl and our TRU Beauty/TRU Fitness event. We had 6 middle school clubs compete in trivia questions relating to tobacco use. At the TRU Beauty, girls learned how tobacco use affects their skin, hair, nails, teeth etc., and the guys learned how tobacco use affects their physical performance. SAVE speakers and local college athletes came and talked to the guys about how tobacco harms their bodies and physical activities.
What advice do you have for groups just getting started?
It's important once you get started to let your youth lead the meetings and take the lead on events and activities. It's amazing to see how far this group has come and to see them educating their peers and talking with their peers on dangers of tobacco use.