Members of the Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown, in conjunction with the Town of Smithtown Horizons and Youth Bureau departments, came together to develop a Substance Use Public Service Announcement focused on the problem of youth vaping. This initiative was completely youth-led and youth-driven. Participants wrote the story line and acted in the PSA.
Students began to brainstorm ideas and scripts in the Summer of 2019. Taping then occurred at Hauppauge High School during the fall and winter. The volunteers wanted to focus on vaping since it is a dangerous habit common amongst teens.
“Young people in our communities are bombarded everyday with false messages that e-cigarettes are safe. When in fact, they are highly addictive and dangerous. Helping our youth understand that they are being targeted by the tobacco industry, teaching them refusal skills, and changing the perceptions of vape use as harmless are important steps in getting youth vape use to decline.” - Kelly Devito, Horizons Youth Services Coordinator
The youth participants featured in the video PSA are Madelyn Melendez, Katelyn May, Joseph Fallon, Alexa Rand, Matt Barshay, Vaishnavi Ravichandar, and Gabriella Mavridis. Additional youth that helped in the PSA’s production are Isabella Milana, James Milana, Meghan Callaghan, Syd Rose, Caroline D’Amrosio, Alan Ajit, Kim Castalan, and Taormina Falsitta. Adult volunteers include Emily Just, Kelly DeVito, Madlyn Makboulian, and Alexa Stern.
The PSA can be viewed online at https://youtu.be/VXEAmj8JRg4.
About the Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown:
The mission of the Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown is to promote the health and wellness of our young people; mobilize schools and communities; and utilize resources to create and sustain an environment where destructive decisions and substance abuse are reduced.
The Youth and Community Alliance of Smithtown is a town-wide coalition. If any community member wants to become involved, work on a project that would benefit the town, or be a resource, they can feel free to email Mathew Neebe at firstname.lastname@example.org or Stacey Sanders at email@example.com.