Edison Teen Leads Fight Against Tobacco At National Conference In Washington

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EDISON — Shruti Nadkarni of Edison, a junior at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in North Edison, was invited to speak at the National Tar Wars Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 26 and 27. The presentation was organized by the American Academy of Family Physician (AAFP) and the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians (NJAFP). At the conference, Shruti presented her project, “Tar Wars With a Twist” to the national coordinators of the Tar Wars program.

The project, which encourages peer-to-peer learning, teaches fourth and fifth graders about the harmful effects of smoking. At the end of the project, students craft anti-smoking posters for the national Tar Wars contest.


Nadkarni had the opportunity to meet with several coordinators from all over the United States, who provided positive feedback about her work. She also met and explained her project to Congressman Leonard Lance, Senator Robert Menendez, and Senator Frank Lautenberg. She was also recognized in the NJAFP magazine, Perspectives, for conducting the “Tar Wars With a Twist” program.

“I also conducted an anti-smoking program at the Edison Main Library on June 30 as part of my Girl Scout Gold Award,” she reported. “This fall, I will present my program to fourth and fifth graders at 14 different locations in Edison Public Schools’ aftercare program.” Last year, Nadkarni impacted Wardlaw-Hartridge youngsters with her anti-smoking message during a special presentation sponsored by the Lower School physical education department.

Nadkarni has been a tireless volunteer at the Hands of Hope Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen, which is located at St. James Episcopal Church in Edison. She set and exceeded her goal to collect 760 cans of food for the facility. To achieve this goal, she penned letters, did follow-up phone calls, and procured more than $200 collectively toward food donations from local supermarkets as well as Wal-Mart, Costco and Target.

On Aug. 19, Nadkarni met with Edison Mayor Antonia Ricigliano to speak about the food drive she organized at the nursing home and about her “Tar Wars with A Twist” program.

Other volunteer endeavors include volunteering since 2004 at Francis E. Parker Memorial Nursing Home in Piscataway. She has also taught tennis and acted as a counselor at the Edison Township Summer Program.

Shruti is the daughter of Dr. Swati Nadkarni and Mr. Girish Nadkarni of Edison.

LEADING THE WAY…Shruti Nadkarni of Edison is pictured with New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg during the National Tar Wars Conference. Photo Courtesy of Shruti Nadkarni

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