Matthew Coyle

Matthew (Matt) Coyle is currently a junior at Mount Pleasant High School but he began working with the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic when he was a seventh grader at Springer Middle School. He followed in his sister’s footsteps and became an intern with Delaware’s largest youth movement against tobacco, the Kick Butts Generation (KBG). For the past five years, Matt has been instrumental in the KBG reaching thousands of youth throughout Delaware with a no-tobacco message. He manages an edgy performance group at his high school known as All-4-One. They write and perform their own original anti-tobacco songs for schools and community groups.

For the past two years he has served as chair for the KBG and was instrumental in the leadership revamping their strategic plan to address the new wave of tobacco products available. The KBG’s mission is to protect Delaware Youth from all tobacco and nicotine products, through education, prevention and cessation. Their vision is for all Delaware youth to be tobacco and nicotine free.

His enthusiasm for making a difference is seen when he manages an event at Dover Downs Kids Zone for race weekends, or a Karnival event at an elementary school. He drives a cool Kick Butts Mobile car that was recently wrapped with KBG messaging so that wherever he travels everyone is treated to a unique form of anti-tobacco messaging. For freshman orientation at his school, he and other members of the Knights Against Tobacco developed and delivered a power point presentation on how the new high school students could volunteer time with the ALA. He shared this presentation with his peers at fall intern training and others have since used this as a recruitment tool.

Matt’s creativity immediately shone through when he attended an American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic youth retreat to learn more about how he could become involved in the association’s mission to eliminate tobacco use among Delaware youth. At the retreat he discovered that in order to be an intern with the KBG he would have to apply, find an advisor at his middle school and organize a group. Shortly after attending the weekend retreat he submitted his application packet and tracked down a health teacher inviting her to join his efforts. Within weeks he had obtained her commitment and recruited several students at school to attend their first T.A.T.U. training. From there it blossomed with the group under his tutelage organizing events at the school to reach their peers with messages developed from their training. Before moving on to high school, he enlisted an additional three students to join him in the intern program and become leaders for the KBG.

He was aware that Mount Pleasant High School had a KBG group, Knights Against Tobacco. And having met their advisor, at the spring retreat, he showed up at her door the first day of school informing her he was ready to help with their efforts in any way.

When Matt joined the KBG, the tobacco use rate for high school students was 21%. As of the last youth tobacco survey, high school student’s tobacco use rate had dropped to 14.9%. The hard work done by Matt and the other students are a major factor in the steady decline of cigarette use among Delaware’s youth.

According to Sheri Towner-Gabrelcik, Program Specialist with the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, “If I could clone Matthew Coyle and share him with all the ALA organizations our future would be extremely bright! He is a talented and dedicated young man who truly embraces the mission and goals of the American Lung Association. He will be a valuable leader for our association in years to come!”