As a child enamored with the polished, pristine uniforms of the Young Marine representatives, Vincent Irving needed no convincing to become a member of a drug-demand reduction program.
Irving, a fall political science graduate from Florida A&M, later discovered that his passion for tobacco prevention would flourish into his career of choice. Upon graduation, he was chosen to join the Youth Activism Fellowship Program for the American Legacy Foundation.
According to its website, the foundation is an organization devoted to building a world where the youth rejects tobacco and anyone can quit. The American Legacy Foundation fosters young adults in order to evoke future generations to get involved within their communities on tobacco-related issues.
Amber Bullock, executive vice president in program development, said Irving is committed to the issues of tobacco control and making an impact.
"FAMU has a lot to be proud of," Bullock said. "He is definitely a leader within the community."
The Youth Activism Program is highly competitive, and Irving is one of only four fellows that have been selected for the 2014-15 year.
Living in a family of educators, Irving believes that education is one of the most important ways to make an impact in the community. He hopes to engage and educate his community on how tobacco advertisements are being exposed to the youth.
As an activist, Irving is strongly motivated by Martin Luther King Jr., striving to live by his favorite quote: "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, `What are you doing for others?' "
Irving, who was raised by his single mom, considers his mother to be the best living role model. His mother was constantly placing him in situations that would allow him to help others.
"She made sure I attended church and encouraged me to join the Young Marines," Irving said.
Irving joined the professional and educational fraternity, Phi Delta Kappa, while attending FAMU and was able to leave quite an impression. Patty Thomas, Phi Delta Kappa president, described Irving as a scholar and a true gentleman who will not let opportunities pass him by.
Irving works with the Florida Department of Health in Leon County as a youth activist. He plans to address the issues involving the tobacco retailers and tobacco advertisements.
"My goal is to give my community the opportunity and skills to create change from their own awareness so they are not dependent on elected officials to implement change," Irving said.
Not only does Irving wish to be the voice of the community, but he also strives to unite the community in the fight against tobacco for the long haul.