News and Events

Okeechobee Students Working Against Tobacco Chapter is Expanding for the 2013-2014 School Year
September 21, 2013

The Okeechobee Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter has already added two new Advisors for the new school year. 

Joining Trisha Jennings (Yearling Middle School), will be Susan Kuipers (Okeechobee High School) and Nicole Maciejewski (Osceola Middle School).  Susan and Nicole will be coordinating the SWAT Clubs at their respective schools, providing tobacco prevention information and fostering youth leadership skills among SWAT Club members.

Swat Advisors
Nicole Maciejewski (Left) and Susan Kuipers join the SWAT Team this fall.

The two women are passionate about youth tobacco prevention. Nicole was once a SWAT member herself, and Susan who lost a family member to lung cancer because of tobacco. They are  both ready to jump in and educate Okeechobee County youth on the dangers of tobacco use. 

On September 21, 2013, a team of SWAT advisors and several SWAT youth members represented Okeechobee County at a regional training held in Fort Lauderdale.  The Okeechobee team met students from six other counties.  The students were trained on several tobacco issues, and received additional training on public speaking and policy change techniques. 

SWAT members play an important role in the tobacco prevention program in Okeechobee County and continue to bring awareness to the important issues we face in our community.  According to the 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, Okeechobee County schools ranked among the highest in the state for tobacco use among youth ages 13-17.  Our SWAT students have purposed to bring those statistics down by educating their peers and community leaders on the importance of tobacco control policies that keep tobacco out of the hands of teens.