Amanda Murphy

2006 Volunteer Excellence Award Recipient

Amanda Murphy has been a tireless volunteer for the American Lung Association of Delaware for five years. She has contributed over 500 hours to tobacco-prevention and asthma awareness through her work with Delaware's youth movement, Kick Butts Generation (KBG) and Spacer Camp. She was one of the Delaware youth involved in the grassroots effort to pass the "Clean Indoor Air Acts" in 2002, one of the toughest in the nation.

Amanda's involvement in Spacer Camp began at age twelve. Now, she serves as a senior teen volunteer mentor at Spacer Camp, a week-long day camp for children with asthma. Leading the teen volunteer group at Spacer Camp by example, she is a dedicated, creative and compassionate role model for other teens who are first-time and less experienced volunteers. One of the first teen volunteers at Spacer Camp, Amanda was such a capable volunteer that the American Lung Association of Delaware was inspired to develop a Spacer Camp teen volunteer program. As of 2005, there are approximately 6 teen volunteers housed at each of the 4 Spacer Camps in Delaware. These teen volunteers enhance our entire program and increase our capacity to provide programming to children with asthma. Amanda makes the volunteering experience a positive one for other teens, making them more likely to volunteer for other Lung Association activities, such as Asthma Awareness Day.

During each of the five years she has volunteered at Spacer Camp, Amanda has continually demonstrated her creativity. This summer, for example, believing she could further support the education the campers received, Amanda conducted a spontaneous tobacco education session. She seated the campers in a circle and had them take turns tossing a large inflated ball with anti-tobacco messages and questions. The children discussed and answered each question in turn. The children were so drawn to Amanda, they did not want the session to end. Amanda does her creative work quietly. She connects with children creatively while they are playing games or crafting. The youth trust her and are extremely receptive to her messages.

Amanda discovered the American Lung Association of Delaware's Youth Movement against tobacco, the Kick Butts Generation (KBG), during her first year of volunteering at Spacer Camp in 2000. She immediately signed on to become a representative for her school. She is a key factor in the success that has been achieved by the KBG, a youth driven organization. Amanda participated in the development of a mission and strategic plan for the KBG. She also recruits members into the Kick Butts Generation and last year was instrumental in the KBG increasing their membership from 3916 to 6015. She has devoted over 100+ hours each year providing tobacco awareness to youth and her peers. Her interaction with peers educates them on ways they can volunteer for the organization and has resulted in new teens volunteering time at Spacer Camp. She will actively be pursuing a new intern to fill her shoes when she graduates in 2006, continuing the legacy of the KBG at her school, St. Mark's. 

Amanda is involved in many other American Lung Association of Delaware activities as well. Last year Amanda helped the Lung Association with their Blue Rock's No-Tobacco Little League Day. Youth and their coaches enjoy a day at a minor league baseball game. Pre-game activities include taking a no-tobacco pledge (led by Amanda and her KBG members) and receiving a free baseball cap from the Blue Rocks. Amanda has attended T.A.T.U. training and is involved in school- and community-based tobacco control education programs.

Recently her community service group planned a health fair activity for a local elementary school. Their interactive display attracted youth and their families to the booth where they played games teaching them the facts about tobacco and received anti-tobacco buttons and key chains for participating. Her devotion to tobacco-control is one of the contributing factors to Delaware's decrease in self-reported use of cigarettes from 26% in 2000 to 18% in 2004. She along with her peers provide the truth about tobacco through their quarterly newsletter the VOICE and their youth-driven website, ysmoke.org., as well as programs they take to the youth throughout our state by adopting an elementary school and bringing an interactive program reaching hundreds with a no-tobacco message. 

Amanda plans to become a teacher where she will have the ability to continue providing countless hours educating future generations about asthma awareness and a tobacco-free lifestyle.