News and Events

Spotlight on a Local and Statewide Youth Tobacco Prevention Leader
September 12, 2019

Florida’s youth tobacco prevention organization is Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT). Most middle and high schools around the state have SWAT programs and every county has youth leaders who work diligently in their schools and alongside the Tobacco Free Partnerships in their communities to educate their peers and decision makers about the impact the tobacco industry has on cultivating youth tobacco addiction.

Levy SWAT Representative and YAB member, Alexis Crum, 9th Grade Cedar Key School   SWAT clubs have been in nearly every middle and high school of Levy County consistently since 2007 and a youth leader from the county has been elected by peers to serve on the statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board since 2008. The Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County works closely with the local SWAT youth, and the county SWAT representative always serves as a Youth Co-Chair for the partnership. Having youth members serve as partnership officers is an important way to make sure their voices are heard in discussions involving youth prevention and policy changes in our communities.    

This quarter, we interviewed our newest Levy County SWAT Representative and Statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) member, Alexis Crum. Alexis is a student at Cedar Key School and was elected by her peers to represent Region 2 and Levy County in July at the statewide SWAT meeting.

How are you involved in your county or school SWAT chapter?
I am currently in 9th grade and have been in SWAT since 6th grade. Every year that I have been in SWAT I always contribute ideas, attend meetings, and I have presented at the annual Levy County SWAT summit for the past 3 years. Another thing that I have done in the past two years is hold an officer position in the club. I always participate in meetings by coming up with our next project and taking pictures. This year, I was elected to serve as a statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board member representing Region 2 and I am the Regional Task Manager. Also, I am the Levy County SWAT Representative and I serve as the youth Co-Chair of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County. In these roles I help plan and present information on conference calls, at regional meetings and partnership meetings, and I help give presentations to decision makers in the community to educate them.

What leadership roles have you had in the past?
My past leadership roles were Cedar Key High-Q captain, Student Government 8th Grade representative, Jnr. Beta Treasurer, and SWAT Project Manager and Secretary.

What does being a statewide Youth Advocacy Board member mean to you?
Serving on the YAB means that I get to spread the word about how tobacco is bad for our community. Since my grandma died from a heart attack due to smoking it really has driven me to start wanting to get the word out. I know that one of the best ways to do that is to share information as a YAB member, so other grandchildren or grandparents don’t have to watch the pain in their eyes like I did. I want to save the next generation and the present one too.

Region 2 SWAT YAB Members and Statewide SWAT Coordinator
(L to R) Shari Troy (Hamilton County); Natasha Counts (Volusia County); LaDarius Gammage (Statewide Coordinator); Ryan Helmes (Volusia County); and Alexis Crum (Levy County)

What is your favorite tobacco control observance? And why?
My favorite Tobacco Control Observance is Through with Chew Week. It’s my favorite because I know of a lot of kids who use chew or dip and I feel like our school really does learn from our efforts to raise awareness for this observance.

What accomplishment(s) have you had in SWAT that you are proud of?
Some accomplishments I have had in SWAT are writing and speaking at our yearly Levy County SWAT Summit. Another accomplishment I am proud of is being the former Cedar Key SWAT Secretary and Project Manager. I am also a Region 2 Statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board member and as our county representative, I am the youth Co-Chair of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County. I am most proud of the difference I am making in my community.