Day 1: Kawan's TRUTH Youth Summit Journal

Kawan is an intern here at On the Money magazine and was one of six former OTM interns who were flown out to Orlando, FL as anti-tobacco activist! For the next few weeks he will take us on his experience and journey! 

By Kawan Yarbrough

July 12, 2016

The day started off with me waking up around 1:30am. I told myself that I would go to sleep earlier than I usually do in the summer, which is around 1am. Last night I was asleep by 10, and made sure I had everything I needed to go. I was at the airport a little after 6 which is where I met up with my friends Ronald and Karmin. We got our tickets, went through security, then waited at our gate for our other friend. I left my stuff with Ronald and Karmin, while I went to Starbucks. I got a venti strawberry açai refresher with coconut milk, which was absolutely one of the best beverages I’ve ever had. But moving on, once Ariel got to the airport, we all boarded the flight and we took off.

Two hours later, we landed in Orlando. We got to our hotel around noon, got settled then relaxed.

At 6, we were on our way to the opening ceremony and were introduced to our team leaders. They broke the rules down to us, and then we were dismissed to do an icebreaker. The icebreaker was: Pair up with someone you didn’t know, tell them 3 facts then they had to recite one, and you had to come up with a secret handshake. The person I paired up with was named Ashten. He's an upcoming sophomore that lives in Panama City, FL. His 3 facts were: He loves photography, he’s from Panama City, and that he loves book bags. My facts were: My favorite color is red, I love food, and I was born in December. The activities ended by 7, then my favorite part of the day commenced, dinner! There was macaroni & cheese, chicken, greens, cornbread (so divine), mashed potatoes, and this cake that had banana frosting. Dinner was over and our final sessions were Tobacco 101 and Show Me How Great I Am.

Tobacco 101, was about all things relating to tobacco. I learned that:

  • Nearly 480,000 people die each year from tobacco.

  • Third-hand smoking is when particles from smoking tobacco are left behind for people to intake.

  • Flavored cigarettes were banned in 2009.

Show Me How Great I am, was basically how Vincent Irving’s mentor Sam Allen spoke about how he got started with TRUTH almost 20 years ago. Afterwards, he spoke on six things he would tell his younger self. His advice was quite helpful to us as teenagers today.

Not much has happened on this first day. I don’t know exactly what will happen tomorrow, but that’s the exciting part about these types of trips.