Twelve middle school students from Fort Bend County were selected to participate in the 2013 Say What! Texas Tobacco-Free Conference held July 28-31 at the Woodlands Resort and Conference Center. They were among 300 students from across Texas selected to participate based on their accomplishments in eliminating tobacco from their schools and communities.
The annual Say What! Conference, gives students working in tobacco prevention an opportunity to hear national public health speakers, learn new and innovative ways to spread their message, and share best practices used by student groups in other areas of the state. There is significant focus in the areas of utilizing social media, interactive marketing, proper messaging and health facts.
Participants are expected to develop a project during the conference that can be implemented in their respective communities and school campuses. The goal is to move away from a conference that only educates attendees, but rather expands its reach to entire schools.
The Tobacco Free Fort Bend Coalition provided funding in the form of full scholarships for the 12 students attending the conference. The Coalition serves to expand tobacco prevention and cessation efforts across the county.
Jamesie Williams, a long time adult sponsor to the conference, said, “This year’s conference truly was the best ever. The use of technology met the students at their level of sophistication, and gave many a sense of what college would be like.”