The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines Youth Engagement and Volunteerism as providing the opportunity for young people to gain the ability and authority to make decisions that help improve the policy environment, change social norms, and reduce smoking initiation and consumption in their communities. Y Street was launched in 2004 to engage youth in changing tobacco use norms. Over the years, Y Street has evolved constantly to adopt the most cost effective strategies that engage the largest numbers of youth. In addition, when the Virginia legislator asked VFHY to tackle obesity prevention in 2009, Y Street was the first program to step up by expanding its scope to tobacco and obesity prevention.
Today, Y Street is one of the nation’s largest and most efficient youth engagement programs, training over 600 new high school students each year who, combined with youth trained in prior years, complete over 1,500 tobacco and obesity prevention projects each year. 22 communities in Virginia have a Y Street Chapter, and Prevention Connections is committed to increasing that number in future.
More than 5,000 Virginia youth have completed a training to become a member of Y Street.
Over the years Y Street youth have volunteered thousands of hours, leading to things like reports on Virginian’s opinions of clean indoor air or motivating Kelly Clarkson to drop a tobacco sponsorship of her concert in Indonesia. Y St. youth have even been invited to testify to the FDA and meet with community leaders to share the opinions and knowledge they have gathered from their community. In 2011, Y Street was named the Group of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
How Does Y Street Work?
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