ITAT Leadership Conference

      On September 19th, 2020, our ITAT students participated in their first quarterly leadership conference of the year. ITAT presidencies and members came from Salt Lake and Utah Counties to participate in a day of learning, advocacy, and talents. 

The leadership conference was themed: Use Your Voice, and highlighted major issues impacting Pacific Islander youth- tobacco/vape use and suicide rates. The conference began with a walk for "Life is Worth Living", ITATs suicide prevention initiative. Our island teens carried a banner (pictured above) and wore their conference t-shirts as they walked around Orem, UT in support of Suicide Prevention month. 

The walk was followed with icebreakers and a presentation by Vaitiare Todd on the link between tobacco use and suicide rates, in Utah and Pacific Islander teens. ITAT students discussed and conceptualized various ways to address this huge issue, and one overarching theme stood out: Use Your Voice! Students discussed using their voices to uplift, educate, and empower others in their schools and communities as a way to decrease tobacco/e-cigarette use, and also to decrease suicide rates. 

The conference came to a close following a presentation by guest speaker and popular Samoan muralist, Aljay Fuimaono. Aljay spoke to the ITAT students about his journey to becoming a successful muralist in Utah, how his hard work and using his voice helped him dispel his fears about the art world, and how they too can find success by making leaps of faith and working hard. The motivational speech was followed by an art tutorial, where students had the opportunity to make art of their own. 

We are so glad that we could start off the year with an educational experience to motivate us all to work hard in advocacy and in our communities!


ITAT completing their walk for Life is Worth Living around Orem, UT


Guest speaker Aljay Fuimaono addressing the students


ITAT students are engaged as Aljay shares his journey to success


ITAT students create art with instruction and assistance from Fuimaono

         ITAT Student Spotlight: Kiani Akina

 This month, our ITAT student spotlight is Lone Peak High Schools' ITAT president, Kiani Ku'uleimomi Akina. 

Kiani was born and raised in Kahuku, Hawaii and has 6 siblings. She is a senior at Lone Peak, an honor roll student, a nd the President of her Island Teens Advocacy club this school year. She plays rugby for United Girls Rugby. Some of her hobbies include dancing hula and Tahitian, outdoor rollerskating, plant care, crystal finding, listening to TED talks and podcasts, and performing service for others. 

When asked why she chooses to participate in ITAT, Kiani answered, "I choose to be a part of ITAT to educate our Polynesian youth of the dangers of tobacco, vaping, substance abuse, and about suicide prevention - as well as demolishing stereotypes that surround us as a people. Representing the underrepresented is a powerful thing, ITAT does just that"

We are proud of you, Kiani, and blessed to have you be a part of our ITAT family! 


Kiani using her athletic ability playing rugby


Kiani dancing hula

Tobacco Facts: 

MY LIFE MY QUIT: is a new service available to teens, to assist them in quitting the highly addictive nicotine products that comprise the teen vaping epidemic. All they need to do is text "Start My Quit" 855-891-9989 to talk or text with a quit coach to cheer them on in their journey of quitting!

-Tobacco is the #1 cause of preventable death

-7.6% of Utah teens use e-cigarettes regularly

-Tobacco still kills nearly half a million Americans and more than 7 million people worldwide each year

  • The tobacco industry relentlessly peddles its deadly products, targeting kids and other vulnerable populations.
  • Tobacco kills over 480,000 people in the U.S. and over 7 million worldwide each year.

-5.6 million kids alive today in the U.S. will ultimately die from smoking

  • In the U.S. alone, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year — $1 million every hour — to market their deadly products.

(Utah DOH,,

Suicide Facts :

  • Suicide is the 10th cause of death in the US (for all ages)
  • There is one suicide every 12 minutes in the US
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).

(,, CDC):


The Pacific Islander community in Utah has the highest rates of COVID-19. Please continue to practice safe social distancing practices and wear masks in public places!

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