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Youth Initiatives


Youth Advisory Board

In partnership with The Breast Cancer and The Environment Research Program (BCERP) and the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, ZBC has instituted an innovative Youth Advisory Board (YAB) for the CYGNET Study. The CYGNET Study is one of the puberty studies that are a part of the BCERP’s multi-site study on the effects of environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer throughout life.  The YAB is composed of 15 CYGNET study participants, ages 12 to 15.  CYGNET is a multi-year study of girl’s pubertal transitions which is important because of the established link between the earlier age of a girl’s first menstrual period and an increased risk of breast cancer in adult life.  The YAB members and mentors meet monthly and have provided feedback to CYGNET study researchers and staff on participant interview and questionnaire content and on the development of an informative brochure for fellow study participants.  Over the past 2 years, YAB members have provided suggestions for the design and content of a proposed youth-friendly, interactive CYGNET study website which will aim to inform the public, engage and retain study participants, and provide age-appropriate health and environmental education information and resources.

Youth Advisory Board Toolkit

Zero Breast Cancer has created a Youth Advisory Board Toolkit based on the work that was done with the CYGNET study's YAB. This toolkit was designed as a model for other groups to use to create and effectively utilize a YAB for your own organization. It includes a summary of the board's purpose, how members were chosen, what work was completed, and recommendations for improvements in the future. It also includes meeting agendas, powerpoints, and evaluations as well as deliverables and materials produced by the YAB for other study participants and the lay public.

Click here to view the toolkit summary  for Year 1, which focused on teaching members about the research process
Click here to view the toolkit summary for Year 2, which focused on teaching members about the advocacy process and the Photovoice Project

Youth Advisory Board Photovoice Project

The second year of the Youth Advisory Board focused on learning about advocacy efforts, which members learned about and then used to complete a Photovoice Project on environmental health. The project allowed members to communicate the strengths and deficiencies in their own neighborhoods regarding the various aspects of environmental health and share these with stakeholders and policymakers. In addition to the tangible exhibit that was produced, the Photovoice project allowed YAB members to gain confidence in their capabilities to create effective advocacy tools. They also developed thinking skills like social awareness, self-awareness, critical consciousness, goal-setting, and decision making. The project served as an opportunity for members to share what they've learned about research, environmental health, and advocacy during their time on the Youth Advisory Board with each other as well as with the community at large.

Examples of the project can be viewed below. The entire Photovoice Project is available for display, if interested please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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adolbroch girl

The Breast Cancer and the Environment Peer Education Tool Kit

The Breast Cancer and Environment Peer Education Tool Kit is a program designed to increase awareness of breast cancer risk factors and modifiable environmental factors relevant to teens. Zero Breast Cancer created this peer education single lesson module targeted to teens, based on current breast cancer research and a formative community assessment of Marin County teachers, parents and adolescent girls. This co-educational lesson module was pilot-tested with 9th and 10th graders, in partnership with the Tamalpais Union High School District and the Sir Francis Drake High School Peer Resource program in Marin County, California. Teachers, peer educators and student participants contributed their perspectives to the project evaluation. The evaluation showed that this module significantly increased students' knowledge of breast cancer factors and risk reduction behaviors, and that students were able to develop a personal action plan with the lesson information. The module instructional materials were refined based on suggestions from teachers and students and can now be used as a groundbreaking breast cancer program that can be used by schools and health educators in communities looking for creative ways to reach teens with breast cancer risk reduction messages.

The toolkit consists of: 

  • Lesson overview and learning objectives
  • Lesson outline with activity options for educators
  • Module templates on health messages for teens and educators, vocabulary terms, a glossary, breast cancer fact sheet, personal action plan, evaluation surve


You can also access collaterals associated with the toolkit including:

  • Breast Cancer Facts, Factors & Health Tips from Marin County
  • Model Adolescent Health Brochure
  • Breast Cancer Tips for Latina Teens, Young Women & Families (In English and Spanish)
  • Our award winning academic poster on the project


You can access the toolkit and collateral materials for free online. 



PLEXUS Hat Collection

plexus3Formed in 2007, the Plexus Art Group is composed of Bay Area artists who make and exhibit fine art that addresses social and political concerns directly impacting its members and the community at large. This 38-hat collection was made in honor of fellow Plexus artist and emeritus ZBC board member Roni Peskin-Mentzer. After Roni learned that her breast cancer had returned, the group wanted to do something to support her, and Roni suggested that they create hats that would be beautiful pieces of art. The Plexus Art Group responded with enthusiasm, generosity, and creativity.mondayshatimage

A documentary film by Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan that featured the Plexus Hat collection was recently nominated for an Academy Award in the “Best Documentary Short” category in 2013. The film, entitled “Mondays at Racine”, tells the story of two sisters who open the doors of their Long Island hair salon once a month to women diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and the support system that they create.

The hats, which are on display at the ZBC office, can be loaned out to community groups for use at fundraising events, conferences, and community exhibits. For more information about how you can bring these hats to your event, please contact ZBC.


 Back Row (From left to right): Jennifer Kim Sohn, Elise Cheval, Ventana Amico, Juline Beier, Karen Balos, Stuart Wagner, Roni Mentzer, Diana Shore, Susan Doyle
Front Row (From left to right): Roz Ritter, Marla Brill, Giselle Kappos, Pam Leith, Julie Garner