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Brooklyn teen named metropolitan region’s Youth Advocate of the Year

February 11, 2016 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sen. Roxanne Persaud (l.) and Cedric Small. Photo courtesy of NYC Smoke-Free
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Brooklyn native Cedric Small was announced this week as the recipient of the Metropolitan Regions Youth Advocate of the Year (YaYa) at a ceremony held in Albany by the state Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control. He was also awarded a special recognition by state Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Southeast Brooklyn).

Small is a resident of East New York and is a senior high school student at the School for Human Rights. He is an active member of NYC Smoke-Free Reality Check. Upon high school graduation, Small plans to attend college and become an entrepreneur.  

The YaYa Award, sponsored by Reality Check of New York State, honors the outstanding work of youth advocates who have taken the lead using education to reduce tobacco use. These young activists are fighting to protect their peers and their communities from the dangers of smoking through public education, and peer-to-peer training.  

Persaud attended the ceremony and presented Small with a proclamation recognizing his stellar achievement. “It’s an honor to present this proclamation on behalf of members of the 19th Senatorial District,” Persaud said. “Cedric has done our district proud, and I congratulate him on the work he has been doing.”

Over the past six months, Small has worked diligently as a student leader to mobilize teens in Brooklyn to combat the tobacco industry’s heavy marketing and presence near schools through workshops and supporting NYC Smoke-Free events.  NYC Smoke-Free is a program made possible through funding by the New York state Department of Health, Bureau of Tobacco Control.  NYC Smoke-Free partners with community members, legislators and health advocates to support local efforts to end the tobacco use epidemic throughout the city.

“Cedric stood out as a leader within our first group of teens working on student engagement around tobacco control,” said Edric Robinson, student engagement coordinator with NYC Smoke-Free Reality Check. “I jokingly call him ‘President of the Universe,’ because he is that passionate about this work. With over 5,000 high school students in Brooklyn who currently smoke, Cedric is dedicated to help combat this statistic. Our office is truly proud of him.”


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