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Statewide Leader Spotlight: Anooshey Ikhlas

Where are you from?

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and currently live in Raynham, MA. 

What is your favorite food?

Probably Chicken Tikka Masala, a southasian dish of diced chicken in a creamy orange-colored curry. 

What made you want to join The 84 Movement?

Ever since I started working with my coalition, I realized how much I liked working in addiction prevention, specifically tobacco prevention. I gave countless presentations around the district and to my school, but I wanted to reach a larger audience, help more people if I could. Being able to work on the statewide level is everything I could have hoped for. I have been able to positively influence and present to youth from all across Massachusetts. 

How did you first learn about The 84?

One day, I received a text from two of my advisors, the assistant directors at The Brockton Area Prevention Collaborative, telling me I should apply to be on the 84 Statewide Leadership Team and that I would like it. They were right, I have loved every moment I have been on the SLT,  especially being able to collaborate with other bright and passionate people, now my friends. 

What is your favorite part about being on the Statewide Leadership Team?

One of the best things about being on the SLT, besides meeting some of the best people, is the amount of opportunities I have to learn and strengthen my advocacy. For example, I have received many trainings in advocacy, tobacco 101, Menthol, leadership, etc…, which have been extremely useful for me. 

What is one thing you HAVE to have in your backpack at all times?

A gel pen. I literally do all my work in gel pen, even AP calculus. So yeah, if you see me at school scrounging through my backpack frantically, I am probably looking for one of those heavenly pens that glide across paper, which I seem to misplace quite frequently.

What is one of the funniest moments you have had working with the Statewide Leadership Team?

I was playing cards with Sandra and Luis till 2 am at the overnight retreat, when we thought we heard Danielle coming down the stairs. We ran so fast to our beds but we were laughing so hard that anyone coming down the stairs would’ve known someone was up. 

What is one message you have for youth about their role in tobacco control?

Even small steps lead to big change. You may believe a local policy change or even a local educational presentation will have no effect on the rest of the state or country, but it can. Here is Proof: the Massachusetts statewide ban on flavors.