The Watertown Youth Coalition Peer Leaders, part of Wayside Multi-Service Center, have been awarded a $2,000 mini-grant from The 84 Movement, which helps mobilize young people across Massachusetts to take action to protect their communities from the influence of the tobacco industry, WYC announced. The grant is one of ten awarded this year to youth groups from across the state.
Previously, WYC Peer Leaders have received funding from The 84 to support surveys about pricing and availability of flavored cigars in Watertown, as well as use of different tobacco products by Watertown High School students.
During a survey administered last spring, WYC Peer Leaders learned that of those students who had ever tried a tobacco product, 74.8% first tried an e-cigarette product. Over 63% of students felt it was “easy” or “somewhat easy” to get flavored tobacco products, providing explanations such as “Most stores sell them” and “You can go to the store and buy it.” 52% of students who got flavored tobacco products within the last 30 days got their products from Watertown.
With the new mini-grant, WYC Peer Leaders plan to raise awareness about accessibility of these products through a community mapping project to show the proximity of tobacco retailers in Watertown to relevant teen hangouts. Shariel Joseph (grade 10), the youth writer on the grant application, explained her hopes that “helping us provide information to community members about how close tobacco vendors are to the schools and other places where teens spend a lot of time will increase awareness about accessibility and could eventually decrease the amount of teens using tobacco products.”
WYC Peer Leaders are looking forward to sharing the mapping project with the community once it is completed in the spring.
About Watertown Youth Coalition
The Watertown Youth Coalition (WYC), overseen by Wayside Multi-Service Center, is a community coalition of youth, parents, residents, educators, police officers, medical professionals and local business owners committed to promoting healthy and positive lifestyles among Watertown youth.
Contact Dawn Graham, WYC Peer Leader Advisor, at email@example.com or 617-926-3600 x 303 with any questions or for additional information about the WYC Peer Leadership Program or 84 Chapter.