Group of 12 Teens Will Lead Advocacy Efforts for Tobacco-Free Lifestyles
NASHVILLE – The TNSTRONG youth tobacco prevention movement is welcoming the new class of teen ambassadors. TNSTRONG stands for “Tennessee Stop Tobacco and Revolutionize Our New Generation.” Ambassadors are chosen to represent their statewide youth movement and collaborate with one another to promote a tobacco-free life for their peers. They have the opportunity to work at the local, regional and state levels to impact policy and planning around tobacco prevention activities.
“We are incredibly proud of these talented and passionate young women and men who are stepping up and stepping out to lead their peers, their communities and our state in stopping tobacco and nicotine addiction,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “They articulate powerfully that this is not a lifestyle choice, but an addiction that no one needs to start and they want it to end in their lifetimes.”
The TNSTRONG Teen Ambassadors passed a rigorous vetting process after each submitted a written application, a video and a letter of recommendation or a tobacco-related creative project. Applications were evaluated based on demonstrated interest and experience in advocacy, proven leadership ability, communication skills and community relationships. Reviews were conducted at county, regional and state health offices with chosen candidates required to receive approval at all three levels.
The TNSTRONG Ambassadors for 2018 to 2020 are:
Luke Anglin of Johnson City is a homeschool student and is very active in his community. He is the secretary of the Carter County Drug Prevention Youth Board. He has attended three TNSTRONG youth events and has been an anti-tobacco advocate for years.
Pate Anglin of Johnson City is a homeschool student and previously served as a TNSTRONG Ambassador from 2016-2018. He currently serves on the Carter County Drug Prevention Board and has been a strong advocate for tobacco prevention. He has attended three TNSTRONG youth events.
John Boyle of Charlotte is a student at Creek Wood High School in Dickson. He is an Eagle Scout, involved in 4-H and serves on the Drug Free Dickson Coalition. Boyle has been an active partner with the Dickson County Health Department and a staunch antitobacco advocate for years. He has attended three TNSTRONG youth events.
Nehemiah Davenport of Hixson is a student at Hixson Middle School in Hamilton County. He has been a member of the Boys to Men Male Mentoring organization for more than six years. Davenport attended the 2018 TNSTRONG Youth Summit and welcomes the opportunity to join other teens to make Tennessee tobacco free.
Daveon Dupree of Chattanooga is a student at East Lake Academy and is quarterback of his school’s football team. He has been a member of the Boys to Men Male Mentoring program for five years and is a leader of its Talented Tenth group. Dupree attended the 2018 TNSTRONG Youth Summit.
Annaleigh Escobar of Dyersburg is a student at Dyer County High School and serves on the Dyer County Youth Health Council. Escobar wants to work to promote tobacco-free school campuses in her community and promote more tobacco prevention education in schools.
Lisandro Gonzalez of Chattanooga is a student at Howard High School and has been a member of the Boys to Men Male Mentoring program for four years. He attended the 2018 TNSTRONG Youth Summit. Gonzalez is proud his family is smoke-free and wants to help other families become smokefree as well.
Makenzie Harden of Decatur is a student at Riverside High School and a member of Riverside’s Student Wellness Council. She serves on the Parliamentary Procedures team of Riverside’s HOSA-Future Health Professionals group and as a peer mentor in her local Panther Pals program, which mentors youth with autism.
Destiny Hartley of Centerville is a student at Hickman County High School. She is the assistant section leader for the Hickman County High School Marching Band and serves as vice president for S.T.A.R. Teens. She has been a tobacco prevention advocate for more than three years.
Isabel Kagoo of Collierville is a student at Lausanne Collegiate School. Her extracurricular activities include the Debate Club, Political Science Club, Knowledge Bowl and Model United Nations. She intends to create a curriculum that will amend the state health education course to include information on electronic nicotine delivery systems.
Reece Townsend of Johnson City is a homeschool student and very active in his community. He has participated in numerous TNSTRONG events and is a strong anti-tobacco advocate. Townsend previously served as president of the TNSTRONG Youth Board of Carter County. He is passionate about teaching young children about the dangers of nicotine and tobacco.
Ronni Whitehead of Nashville is a student at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School. She attended the 2018 TNSTRONG Summit and has been a tobacco prevention advocate for one year.
“We are proud to present the largest and most diverse group of TNSTRONG Ambassadors yet, representing home, public and private schools; various age, racial and ethnic backgrounds and bringing a range of both rural and urban experiences,” said TDH Assistant Commissioner for Family Health and Wellness Morgan McDonald, MD. “We are so excited to see what these talented young people will do as they lead Tennessee’s first tobacco-free generation!”
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at http://www.tn.gov/health.