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Boston, MA- Three talented youth of Sociedad Latina in Mission Hill were recently honored as winners of «The 84» Digital Media Contest, «Brand You.» Anthony Price, also a Mission Hill High School student, took the Grand Prize for his rap song entitled Live Life. Soto and Yorling Valdez were honored for composing an original rap song about tobacco use among their peers and its impact on the community.

The 84 is a statewide tobacco prevention movement developed by and for young people in Massachusetts. The campaign references the 84% of 7th-12th graders in MA who do not smoke, and engage in other creative, healthy activities. The awards ceremony was held at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton. The 84 is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Control Program and managed by The Medical Foundation, a public health nonprofit based in Boston.

Twelve prizes were awarded in the categories of digital art, video, and audio. Over 100 entries were submitted from across the Commonwealth, and more than 100 people attended the Festival, including contestants, parents, grandparents, adult advisors, and school teachers.

Benny notes that «it’s important because there are a lot of advertisements, especially targeted to youth in urban communities, and we live in urban communities, and we’re trying to [counter] those advertisements and all the influence they have on youth and people in the community about smoking cigarettes.»

Yorling also had a somber perspective. «It’s sad to go by stores all the time that little kids go into and there are advertisements at their height. It’s just sad, you know, so we’re trying to make a change with our song.»

At the heart of The 84 is the website, www.the84.org, developed and managed with strong youth input and content. The 84 engages young people in activities offline in their communities to help spread the tobacco-free movement, affiliate youth with The 84, and spread the word about tobacco-free lifestyles. In addition to the Digital Media Contest, offline activities include mini-grants for school-based campaigns to engage young people and their peers in the tobacco-free movement. The goal is to provide as many opportunities as possible for young people to demonstrate the power of The 84.

Digital Media Contest entries were judged based on their creativity, originality, unique brand, and tobacco-free message. The panel of judges included young people from across the Commonwealth. More than 4,000 votes were also cast for the User’s Choice Award, which allowed young people to vote for their favorite entry online. The Digital Media Contest is open to all high school-aged students in Massachusetts. This year, over 150 youth were involved in the creation of more than 100 digital media entries.

Winning entries are showcased on www.the84.org and winning videos are also posted on YouTube.

About the Digital Media Contest:
«Brand You» is more than The 84’s Digital Media Contest. It’s a way for young people engaged in The 84 to express themselves and their unique «brand,» as well as to showcase their tobacco-free lifestyles. Over the past two years, youth throughout Massachusetts created short films to showcase tobacco-free messages. In 2009, the contest was expanded to include all forms of digital media, from film and song to animation and illustration. Entries were judged based on their creativity, originality, unique brand, and tobacco-free message.

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