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Nia Kamara and Kayla McPike, graduating seniors from Shorewood High School, were recently awarded prestigious “FACT Advocacy Awards” for their outstanding level of youth tobacco prevention advocacy work in the state. FACT, a program of the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, is a youth-driven movement consisting of more than 2,500 members in 30 groups spread across the state. The program, which is celebrating its 19th year of existence on June 24, specializes in activism, peer-to-peer advocacy, media outreach, and outreach to local and state leaders to provide information on how tobacco is impacting local youth.
Kamara, who won the Statewide Advocacy Award for the second consecutive year, has been active with FACT for 7 years and served 6 years on the FACT statewide advisory board. She is recognized as a leader in youth tobacco prevention and advocacy and serves as a National Youth Ambassador for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
“I couldn’t have received this amazing award again if it wasn’t for my principal Mr. Kenney, my FACT coordinator Mr. Jordan and my FACT leadership team, TaNiya, Kayla, and Fednise,” said Kamara, who will attend Sarah Lawrence College in NY in the fall.
McPike, who won the Southeastern Regional Advocacy Award, has been actively involved in FACT for 5 years and served 4 years on the FACT state advisory board. She will attend UW-Whitewater in the fall, and will major in Communications with a focus in public relations, and minor in political science. McPike and Kamara co-founded the Shorewood Chapter of FACT in 2019 and have presented at local, state and national health conferences.
“I am very thankful to receive this award. I have dedicated years of my life to helping teens avoid tobacco and am honored that my hard work has been recognized by FACT,” McPike said.
The pair were recognized this year for their work to raise awareness about the impact of tobacco on youth, including participation in multiple media interviews, testifying at several public hearings related to tobacco, hosting a training on youth advocacy during the Wisconsin Legislative Black Caucus Lobby Day, and leading school-sponsored activities such as Taking Down Tobacco National Day of Action and a virtual rally featuring national youth tobacco prevention advocate Luka Kinard, among other advocacy work.
According to Shorewood High School Principal, Timothy Kenney, Kamara and McPike’s advocacy work has had an impact that goes far beyond the halls of his high school.
“Congratulations to Nia and Kayla on winning these prestigious awards! I am very proud of all of their efforts to educate both their peers and the larger surrounding communities about the dangers of tobacco use,” Kenney said.
Stephone Jordan, who served as a FACT adult advisor at Shorewood High School, said the teens helped to create a legacy of advocacy at the school.
“Their hard work and dedication to FACT youth has really paid off. They have paved the way for the youth behind them,” Jordan said.