Cazenovia, NY - Kat Wojsiat, 15 of Munnsville, was recognized by Reality Check as their 2018 Youth Advocate of the Year for Madison County. Reality Check educates communities about the negative impact of tobacco marketing in stores and on screen and also n the benefits of tobacco free housing and outdoor spacing. Reality Check is a component of the Advancing Tobacco Free Communities grant through the New York State Bureau of Tobacco Control. Their yearly Community Education and Recognition Event serves to educate the community and honor those who have helped the program in the past year.
Wojsiat, who has been an instrumental part of the program for three years, said "I am proud to be fighting for this cause. I know I wouldn't be able to do all of this without my parents helping me pursue my dreams. I am grateful for all of the opportunities I have had in this program and I am glad I still have a few years left to be a part of it." Wojsiat has many notable accomplishments, but most recently was a Warner Series panelist on Tobacco in Culture: The Renormalization and Glamorization of Smoking.
15 other youth from across Madison and Oneida County were recognized this evening, along with their parents. The program also took time to honor the Village of Hamilton and the Town of Cazenovia for placing a priority on people's health by making their parks tobacco free.
Reality Check Coordinator, Heather Bernet, expressed gratitude for each of the students and communities helping to raise awareness about the negative impact of tobacco marketing. "Without community members who feel passionately about public health, what we are doing would never work. We know that 480,000 American die each year from tobacco related illness and we want that number to be zero. People concerned about this epidemic are the backbone of our work. Our favorite night of the year is when we get to take time out and honor those people, particularly our wonderful group of Reality Check youth Leaders whose ages range from 12-18. They are doing things I could have never dreamed of doing at that age. They are wonderful advocates," Bernet said.
For more information about Reality Check please visit realitycheckofny.com