Anti-smoking message hits streets

Students from around the state converged at the convention hall this weekend to cement their common anti-tobacco message.

Valerie Saiki, the Kaua‘i coordinator for REAL, said about 40 students from across the state took part in the REAL Experience 4.

“They were able to participate and network with other active anti-tobacco company teens across the state,” Saiki said. “It’s good because these students are from all parts of the state and all share the same sentiments.”

Saiki said the day was a mixture of informative sessions discussing various anti-tobacco advocacy as well as hands-on learning to enhance their skills for taking a stand against tobacco companies.

“Advocacy trainings empower youth to use their skills to take a stand against Big Tobacco,” Saiki said.

Charles Roessler from Tobacco Free Kaua‘i was just one of five speakers from the community to help the delegates hone their interest through Expression Sessions.

Roessler presented Social Norms Marketing, a concept that is effective with the youth generation.

Patricia Fernandez, who also works for the Boys & Girls Club, Kapa‘a Clubhouse, shared her passion for Slam Poetry with the delegates, the medium using a unique and powerful delivery style to spread messages.

Char Chang of Clear the Smoke used her experience and knowledge on working with the media to help get the message to the public, but the highlight was Amber McClure who afforded the delegates hands-on instruction and guidance with video cameras while conducting interviews with participants and volunteers.

The information and knowledge gathered during the day’s presentation was highlighted in a rally staged by the delegates at the intersection of Hardy and Rice streets.

Passing motorists honked their horns in approval, while one motorist screeched his tires in a smoky display as well as returning and parking to talk with the advocates as video cameras whirred away.

“This just has to be the highlight of everything,” Saiki said.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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