The RMTPP in collaboration with our partners at Owens Valley Career Development Center (OVCDC) Lake Isabella and Visalia have been rolling out the Youth Tobacco Learning Collaboratives (YTLC) with this year’s cohort. We have great participation with youth from 6 to 19 years old. To date, 7 YTLC sessions have been held, with 4 sessions at OVCDC Lake Isabella and 3 sessions at OVCDC Visalia. At both sites, youth get to know each other and learn more about Native American culture and general tobacco knowledge while also having fun. For example, a Kahoot trivia game was created to quiz them about Native American heritage, traditional and commercial tobacco, and facts about the tribes from the Central Valley area.
At OVCDC Visalia, our Communications and Education Coordinator, Dan Golding provided the youth with a training on commercial tobacco marketing tactics and how the industry uses media to manipulate and target specific communities such as Native Americans. With this information, the youth learned about how Big Tobacco misappropriates Native American culture and imagery to sell tobacco for profit. Youth were shown PSA videos created by other Native youth as examples of how to lift their voice and share their vision through media, counter the abuse of Native American cultural heritage, and keep tobacco traditional and sacred.
In collaboration with our new partner and OVCDC Lake Isabella Site Coordinator, Loretta Motley, our most recent session with youth in Kern County focused on self-expression through arts, culture, and media messaging. The youth learned about expressing themselves through the creative process using arts and crafts. They were provided cultural information on the meaning of California Indian basket designs by Jennifer Malone, an elder and Wukchumni cultural resource. They were also given an art kit along with Flavors Hook Kids postcards and were asked to decorate the back of the cards while thinking about a message they wanted to share. It could be about tobacco, vaping, or a topic of their choice. Their messages were amazing! Each was personal and powerful. Some were anti-vaping and smoking, others anti-bullying, protecting traditional tobacco, and some were messages of love of family and friends!
We want to thank our partners Joshua Davila and Loretta Motley at Owens Valley Career Development Center, Ms. Jennifer Malone, and the fantastic youth who make the YTLC awesome. We are excited to see what they will create in the coming months!
We still have space in the YTLC so contact us if you or a youth you know is interested in participating at: Sonia Serrano-Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org