Scott Friedlander

2004 Volunteer Excellence Award Recipient 

In just three months, Scott Friedlander, a 12-year old Chicago-area boy, has evolved into an effective anti-tobacco youth advocate and a fundraising superstar for the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago!

Scott came to the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago in May 2003. Scott was concerned about the dangers of second hand smoke in his community, and he was looking for a tobacco control community service project he could perform in conjunction with his upcoming Bar Mitzvah in October 2003.

The local Lung Association staff saw this as an opportunity to develop an individualized youth service project that would meet Scott's needs, as well as the needs of other junior high school students looking for community service projects in the areas of tobacco control, asthma, and air quality. The resulting program, "Make an IMPACT," helps young advocates to develop investigation, advocacy, and fundraising skills, and make a positive impact on their communities.

First, Scott and his Lung Association mentor designed an independent study program to permit Scott to investigate Big Tobacco's marketing practices at convenience stores in the Chicago suburbs. Scott then researched the amounts of money Big Tobacco spends on advertising their products and the deceptive techniques Big Tobacco uses to make their products so appealing to kids his age. Scott then learned about the American Lung Association's advocacy efforts to design stronger clean indoor air laws in some of the Chicago suburbs.

Scott also developed his skills as an American Lung Association fundraiser by signing up to participate in the Lung Association's Chicago Distance Classic 5-K Race. Scott used the Lung Association's Kintera online fundraising tool and designed a customized home page to tell his friends and family all about his Bar Mitzvah project. Under his photograph, he wrote, "I am running for a reason!" and encouraged his friends and family to make a donation in order to "save the lives of many innocent people" who are affected by secondhand smoke. Through his efforts, Scott has already raised $2,419 for the American Lung Association! He is currently the race's leading fundraiser!

To see Scott's fundraising home page, and perhaps make a small donation in honor of Scott's bar mitzvah on October 25, 2003, Click here!

January 13, 2004 Update
Since last year's Chicago Distance Classic, the "Make an IMPACT" project has been expanded to provide even more opportunities for youth advocates like Scott Friedlander. Scott's interest in secondhand smoke inspired us to develop similar projects in program areas such as asthma education and environmental health. Each IMPACT project combines age-appropriate education with opportunities for community service as well as community action. As we continue to develop the IMPACT curriculum, we are also reaching out to synagogues (like Beth Emet in Evanston, Illinois) that have vibrant youth programs for middle school students and strong commitments to community service. Before the end of the month, we hope to hire a IMPACT intern who would be able to mentor students, like Scott, as they develop their own unique IMPACT projects.