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Gold Award Girl Scout, Isabel Berman

Gold Award Girl Scout, Isabel Berman

Say "No" to Vaping

Isabel is a documenter of the truth and she discovered that the truth is that vaping is a major health issue for youths; an epidemic. Through her research, Isabel determined that the cause of this epidemic has many roots including peer pressure, marketing strategies of tobacco companies, and the nature of the human brain during adolescence. Being considered “cool” has opened up an entirely new area of peer pressure and curiosity for kids to experiment with vaping. Part of what makes vaping so "cool" is the appealing candy-like flavors it comes. Additionally, it doesn’t always come with nicotine, so it isn’t portrayed as harmful. However, this is where this problem gets serious. Children do not understand or know what the chemicals in these vape pods can lead to when they are older.” Isabel’s goal for her project was to change that mindset.

To help combat the youth epidemic and educate children and teens between the ages of 13 and 20, a crucial age of development, about the harmful effects of vaping, Isabel filmed a documentary-style video which highlighted five essential lessons. Viewers learned:

  • that they are loved and supported;
  • how not to be tricked by tobacco companies;
  • the need to take care of their bodies;
  • they are strong and have the ability to stand up for themselves and their peers;
  • where to find help if they, or someone they know, need it.

Furthermore, Isabel’s video included an umbrella topic of mindfulness, self-love, and mental health awareness. Her video was shown in middle schools to seventh graders to educate them before they are entirely exposed to the peer pressure and curiosity they might face in later years.

Isabel knew her project was having an impact when “high schoolers decided to watch it themselves, and then actually decide to listen and then have a discussion afterward about what they learned, I find that amazing.” Isabel also administered a survey to viewers after watching her video. “After hearing about the consequences that vaping may have on the body, 95% of kids said they learned something new from the video.”

To ensure sustainability, Isabel’s video is continuing to be shown in health classes at Cape Elizabeth Middle School (CEMS) as part of their health curriculum and her video will be shown and the survey administered each year moving forward. The Cape Elizabeth High School health classes will also be using it as part of their health curriculum.

“At times [throughout the project] I was nervous and at times I was discouraged; however, I learned that once you put yourself out there, others will follow in your footsteps and the journey becomes less scary. I have started a conversation about vaping that is so important to have. This alone will start a ripple effect for change.”

You can view Isabel's video here.