Chapter Opportunities

Check out the many opportunities The 84 offers for chapters to get involved and fight Big Tobacco

Join The 84

Register to become a Chapter and join Chapters around the state making a difference in Massachusetts!

Statewide Youth Leadership Award Winner 2023: Dylan Carroll

2023 Statewide Youth Leadership Award Winner, Dylan Carroll and Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Margret R. Cooke

Every year at Kick Butts Day: Youth Day of Action, we recognize the work that youth across the state have been doing by giving away the Statewide Youth Leadership Award! The 84 Movement’s Statewide Youth Leadership Award is a chance for youth to EXPRESS THEMSELVES and BE RECOGNIZED for the great work they do in their communities and in the state for tobacco prevention.

This year’s winner is Dylan Carroll!

Dylan is an intelligent, friendly, active, relatable, and conscientious young man who mentors Needham youth and encourages them to make healthy decisions. He is a student athlete, recently making the Needham varsity volleyball team, who strongly believes that Needham High School athletes are influencers! Dylan believes that athletes should use their influence for good. He believes that athletes should be positive role models for their peers as well as the Needham youth who look up to them.

We are extremely proud to award Dylan with this year’s Statewide Youth Leadership Award. In case you missed Kick Butts Day, here is his incredibly inspiring speech:

“Good afternoon, everyone – so great to be here with you all today. As Commissioner Cooke said, my name is Dylan Carroll and I am 17 years old and a junior at Needham High school, and I am very grateful to receive this award and be able to share my thoughts and experiences with you all today. 

Today I want to share my personal story or really, my why. For me, it all started with my sister. She’s two years older than me and is currently in her freshman year of college at William and Mary. However, in her high school days she was actually a SALSA leader like I am now. SALSA stands for Students advocating for life without substance abuse and is The 84 Chapter in Needham. Rewinding to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic or as I like to refer to it as the lockdown, I was just about to start my freshman year of high school. At that time, I was a professional procrastinator and had gotten used to the low-key chill vibe I had been flowing in the last few months. My sister on the other hand, was someone who, no matter what, was always organized and ahead of things, which to be honest both amazed me and confused me. Still even to this day, I always wonder where she gets all her motivation and self-discipline from. One day around the time when my freshman year was just starting to kick into gear, she told me that I had to get up off the couch and go join a club, get involved in an extracurricular activity, outside of sports. She told me that it didn’t have to be her club specifically, but also said I should do something meaningful, and she thought I’d really enjoy working with SALSA. She had been involved in the SALSA Needham chapter for a while and loved it. So, reluctantly and without really knowing 100% what I’d gotten myself into, I signed up. Besides my sister’s persistence, the fact that I personally knew people who have or had problems with substance misuse allowed me to very quickly become interested in this program. Listening to how much my friends and loved ones had been affected, directly or indirectly by these addictive substances, and even targeted by industries like Big Tobacco, really struck a chord with me, and quite frankly, irritated me. Personally, I saw no point in substances being so heavily promoted by social norms at times and didn’t understand why so many people follow those norms without a second thought, not knowing the dangers substances could bring to themselves or the people around them. So, once I signed up, I felt as though SALSA, a club that has “advocating for life without substance abuse” as part of their acronym, had to be someplace I could make a difference, or at least begin to try. And from then on, I found myself participating more and more and going to event after event that the club offered. I started to really make strides in my own life through the club and it taught me not only how to be a leader in my own way, but how to be an effective part of a team. After learning so much about leadership and the importance of substance misuse prevention, I began to recognize my sister as a leader and gradually saw her in a new light, and I developed a kind of respect for her that went further than her just being “the older sibling”. She would always have such charisma and would speak in a way that made you want to agree with her even if you really didn’t. Seeing that side of her is what inspired me to want to take on a leadership role and desire to really make a change. The lessons I learned from her and the experience I gained from joining my 84 Chapter are what made me recognize that yes, bettering yourself is good and making conscious and healthy decisions is even better, but if you really want to make a change, or better yet, a movement, you need to involve others! That is the main takeaway I would like to leave you all with today. Coming to statewide events like this one, spreading the word about the extreme long-term dangers of vaping and tobacco, or maybe even a research project on how Big Tobacco is still finding ways to exploit, lure and addict youth and marginalized communities with evolving products like the New “Non-Menthol Menthols” are just a few ways to become part of something bigger than yourselves. Doing this kind of community work is amazing and I urge you all to continue with it. My hope in sharing this message today is that you all will begin to look within yourselves and recognize the changes that YOU want to make in your community and push through any obstacle that may be in your way. Whether that’s finding the drive to get up off the couch like I did or reaching out to new people outside of your club and helping them get out of their own comfort zone- remember, you can’t always overcome obstacles alone, you need people to support you and look up to. The self-reflection that I hope you have made after today is to include others in whatever efforts you take because by doing that you not only better yourself, but you also give an opportunity to those around you to become inspired and create a movement of transformational leaders making sustainable differences for generations to come. This is all in hopes to support anyone that may see YOU as a role model, or that may just be in need of a helping hand. Thank you.”