Youth engagement is critical to the overall success of Wisconsin's tobacco prevention and control movement. It involves providing the opportunity for young people to gain the ability and authority to make decisions, change social norms, and reduce tobacco initiation and consumption in their communities.
Characteristics of Successful Youth Engagement
Youth are engaged if...
- They are respected, valued, and trusted and they feel appreciated, safe, and comfortable.
- They feel they are working in an environment that facilitates their engagement, and they are involved in a meaningful way as teachers as well as students.
- Their voices are being heard and treated as worthwhile.
- They are given the opportunity to be involved and make decisions, gain leadership skills, and see their ideas realized.
- They are able to participate in the social aspects of their involvement.
- They see change and progress happening as a result of their contributions.
- They are in a space where they have ownership and control in decision making processes.
Working with Youth
Check out these resources from FACT and others on working with youth effectively.
Tips for Working with Disparately-Impacted Youth
- Understand and respect cultural differences
- Be open to different cultural learning and communication styles
- Help youth understand that this is a social justice issue
- Maintain an open mind
- Provide unconditional acceptance to build mutual respect
Recruiting and Retaining Youth
Where can you find youth who might be interested in working with your coalition? How can you get them interested in participating? Check out these resources for ideas:
Connect With Youth Organizations and Programs
Here are some great tobacco-prevention youth movements to connect with:
- FACT: Wisconsin's youth-driven statewide program that empowers young people, in grades 7-12,to spread the truth about the damage tobacco products can do to their bodies, their lives and the people they care most about.
- Wisconsin Wins: Youth partner with local health departments and community agencies around the state in this program that works to reduce youth access to tobacco products by participating in retailer outreach and compliance check investigations
- Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: A national organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Specific initiatives include Youth Advocates of the Year Awards and Kick Butts Day.
- Youth Engagement Alliance for Tobacco Control (YEA): An organization of statewide and national partners supporting youth engagement in tobacco control through regional networks, quarterly webinars, a clearinghouse of resources and conferences.