Hi, my name is Carys and I’m a sophomore at Granby High School. This is my second year in Y Street and my first year on the Y Street Leadership Team. In the beginning of this year, other Y Street members and myself had the opportunity to present a new bill to Virginia delegates and Senators that could make ALL schools in the state of Virginia 100% comprehensive. The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) empowers Virginia’s youth to make healthy choices by promoting active, nutritious and tobacco-free living. Healthy Youth Day gave us the opportunity to promote the importance of making a tobacco-free environment.
The 24/7 campaign is an initiative to help all schools in Virginia understand, adopt, implement, and enforce comprehensive tobacco-free policies. With this campaign, we’ve collected surveys, perform events and held many school board meetings. In this campaign, we have discovered the upcoming of electronic smoking devices and have found a way to implement the new language in the school-based tobacco policies. With these bills, we asked to implement comprehensive tobacco policies banning all forms of tobacco products and e-cigarettes on school property, school buses or at school-sponsored events. Being at General Assembly and addressing this issue was a wonderful experience. Not only for myself but, to know that we, as active youth leaders, made a change for ourselves and the generations to come.
The 24/7 campaign is one of my favorites, mainly because I’ve witnessed smokers and have seen the impact on them and their bodies. SB 1295 & HB 2384 has now changed the policy for smoking of any kind at any school or school-sponsored event. Now that these bills have passed, I’ve seen the impact for youth activism. Youth activism is working towards something changes people’s lives for the better. I see why every principal meeting we held was so important and how collecting data from our peers helped us even more! I am now learning to use my voice for the generations after me. I am happy to say that Virginia schools are now 100% tobacco & e-cigarette free!! Let’s make Virginia healthier for everyone!