BINGHAMTON, NY – A recent Windsor grad is being celebrated for years of hard work toward stopping tobacco consumption.
Miranda Bickham was named this year’s Reality Check statewide winner.
Reality Check is a New York State program that focuses on the tobacco industry, and the harmful marketing of vapes and cigarettes to vulnerable populations, such as young people.
Over the past two and a half years, Bickham has talked with various politicians and leaders, protested, and organized a campaign for tobacco free outdoor policies, all of which have pushed her out of her comfort zone.
She says her passion comes from the dangers she sees everyday.
“I noticed the harmful effects and I noticed the world adapting to tobacco and adapting to vapes as if it’s just a normal thing that should happen, and I realized that this could potentially be a very harmful thing, especially in my community, in my world,” says Bickham.
Bickham was surprised with the honor on her graduation day, receiving a customized sweatshirt, trophy and a letter.
Public Health Educator for the Broome County Health Department and Reality Check Coordinator Laura Kelly says she’s extremely proud of all of Bickham’s efforts, accounting for 2 hundred hours of unpaid time.
“You know, I like to say if you provide it they will come. Right? Youth are always looking to be involved in activities that are meaningful. I think that a lot of adults think that youth may not have a voice, or may not be able to make change, but what we’ve learned in the Reality Check program is that those are the people that are elected officials,” says Kelly.
Even though her high school days are over, Bickham still hopes to be a part of Reality Check while taking classes at SUNY Broome.
She says that her current major is Early Childhood Education, and is excited to one day have a platform to teach kids about tobacco use.