Teens Kick Ash - Youth Tobacco-Free Advocacy Conference

21st Annual Teens Kick Ash

Youth Tobacco-Free Advocacy Conference

Teens Kick Ash is intended to develop the next generation of tobacco-free advocates. Through hands-on training and team-building activities, middle and high school students from all over Ventura County learn about tobacco-related health risks and network with each other about how to effect positive change in their own healthy behaviors, in their schools, and within their communities. They will participate in workshops on various topics including advocacy, effective presentations, social media, video productions, and journalism. The conference teaches students about nicotine addiction and the tobacco industry’s marketing strategies to attract young people. The conference is presented annually by the Ventura County Office of Education’s department of Comprehensive Health and Prevention Programs. Meet our speaker below!


Middle School - February 20th

High School - February 21st 

Who Should Attend? 

Middle/high school student leaders and adult advisors involved in outreach projects and programs such as: 

  • Journalism 
  • Video Production
  • Peer Resource
  • Clubs
  • Friday Night Live/Club Live
  • Peer Leaders/Leadership
  • AVID
  • Visual/Media Arts


Ventura County Office of Education 

5100 Adolfo Road

Camarillo, CA 93012

Registration Deadline:

Middle school students and chaperones must register at: bit.ly/tkamiddleschool

High school students and chaperones must register at: bit.ly/tkahighschool

Deadline to register is February 6, 2019


If needed, the VCOE Media Release form can be downloaded here: VCOE Media Release PDF


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Matt Bellace, Ph.D.

Dr. Matt Bellace, Ph.D.For over two decades, Matt Bellace, Ph.D.,has been a professional speaker and stand-up comedian.  His programs encourage over 100,000 students and adults each year to pursue natural highs (e.g. laughter, meditation) and be resilient in the face of stress. 

Dr. Bellace has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology, which is the study of the brain and behavior.  He worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and completed his internship at the traumatic brain and spinal cord units at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.  His dissertation focused on the neurological underpinnings of emotional memory.

He’s also the author of the book, A Better High, a contributing author to National Geographic Kids, and was a recurring comedian on truTV's "World's Dumbest."  For seven years, he performed stand-up comedy in clubs and colleges across the country, including appearances at Caroline’s on Broadway and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.       

As an undergraduate at Bucknell University, Matt founded a student prevention organization named C.a.l.v.i.n. & H.o.b.b.e.s.  Over 25 years later, it is the oldest student group on campus, providing substance-free events every weekend of the school year.  In 1995, the trustees of Bucknell approved funding to refurbish a former fraternity house for the group to reside.  U.S. News and World Report heralded the move, noting, "How times have changed."  Bucknell President, William “Bro” Adams referred to the group as “revolutionary.” 

Matt currently lives in Princeton, NJ and enjoys pursuing natural highs with his wife and two children. 



Find out more about Dr. Bellace:













Administrative Services CenterVCOE Administrative Services Center 
5189 Verdugo Way • Camarillo, CA 93012
Phone: 805-383-1900 • Fax: 805-383-1908

Map & Directions  
Conference and Educational Services CenterVCOE Conference and Educational Services Center
5100 Adolfo Road • Camarillo, CA 93012
Phone: 805-383-1900 • Fax: 805-437-1305

Map & Directions