OPPA Prevention Awards
The OPPA Prevention Awards honor Ohio's prevention professionals and advocates for their contributions to prevention on the local and/or state level. Only OPPA members can nominate award candidates.
We are honoring the 2022 OPPA Prevention Award recipients below, adding one award recipient's narrative each week through July.
Amanda Hampton is the recipient of the 2022 OPPA Member of the Year Award, honoring exemplary contributions to the Ohio Prevention Professionals Association and its membership through service to or on behalf of OPPA.
Amanda became Prevention Services Manager at Madison County Prevention, the primary prevention provider in the county, over seven years ago, investing in her new career by obtaining her OCPS credential and becoming trained in multiple evidence-based prevention curricula and prevention models. She leads a three-person prevention team that has nurtured exponential growth in prevention services in the county.
Amanda believes her role as a prevention professional includes contributing to the field as a whole, leading to her joining the OPPA Membership & Networking Team in 2020.
In early 2021, the OPPA Membership & Networking Team implemented a new member benefit, the OPPA Networking Lunch & Learns, as a means to convene our members, at least virtually, during the pandemic. In the last 18 months, OPPA has hosted three Lunch & Learn series, with over one-third of our membership taking advantage of this member benefit.
Serving on the Membership & Networking Team, Amanda has played a key role in the development and implementation of the Networking Lunch & Learns. She has identified content, arranged presenters, facilitated sessions, and responded to member questions and needs both during and after sessions.
Amanda has also contributed to the Membership & Networking Team’s other projects, including our 2022 membership campaign.
Those who know Amanda are probably not surprised by her commitment to OPPA and the Membership & Networking Team. As exemplified in her work at the local level, she understands the benefit of prioritizing individual and community growth and development.
Jodi Salvo, Chair of the Membership & Networking Team, states: “Amanda is an invaluable part of the OPPA Membership & Networking Team. She brings enthusiasm, innovative ideas, and critical thinking to the table, and the results – like the Networking Lunch & Learns – reflect her contributions.”
Beth Thomas received the 2022 OPPA Advocate Award, recognizing an individual for exemplary efforts in advancing the mission of the Ohio Prevention Professionals Association. Our mission: OPPA employs the the power of dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy to amplify a united voice for prevention in Ohio.
Beth is a Director of Community Education and Engagement at Fulton County Health Department and Program Director of Healthy Choices Caring Communities (HC3), Fulton County’s community coalition.
The OPPA Advocate Award is rooted in amplifying prevention, and Beth is leading the way for our field, both with her own voice and by providing and encouraging opportunities for dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy among our prevention community.
Beth is an advocate for youth-led prevention in Fulton County and throughout the state, engaging in the Ohio Adult Allies initiative, including coordinating the Northwest Ohio Network for Adult Allies. Through the Adult Allies project, she has also co-authored two publications that serve as foundational tools for adults working in youth-led prevention, growing our field’s voice for youth-led prevention.
Beth is also the chair of the Statewide Prevention Coalition Association (SPCA), Prevention Action Alliance’s state network of coalitions. Her leadership with SPCA is growing the capacity of Ohio’s coalitions through education, dialogue, and networking.
Beth also recognizes that our field’s voice is more effective as we grow as professionals. She was one of the inaugural participants of the OCPC Development Fellowship, which culminated in 2021, acquiring the specific supervisory and consulting training to move to the next level of prevention credentialing, knowing that translates to increasing credibility, whether she is working with local community leaders or state legislators. She also saw the Fellowship as a means to build community with her prevention peers throughout the state, further strengthening our collective efforts.
“I have witnessed Beth’s outstanding leadership skills and abilities applied with a collaborative and inclusive nature,” said Julianna Fellows, Beth’s nominator. “She seems tireless in her efforts to bring innovative and sustainable prevention practices to her local community, region and the state.”
Dwight Hughes is a recipient of the 2022 OPPA Community Champion Award, which recognizes an individual who goes beyond expectations to advance prevention in their community.
Dwight is a prevention coordinator at Columbus Public Health. He has been integrally involved in prevention services within the city for many years, primarily working with youth populations in both school and community settings.
That work has its foundation in the relationships he builds with young people. As he provides prevention education, builds resiliency and resistance skills, and nurtures positive youth development, Mr. Hughes recognizes that he is also a role model, especially to African American boys and young men.
In addition to his ongoing work within Columbus City Schools, Mr. Hughes also provides prevention programming in the Columbus Recreation Department’s APPS (Applying Purpose and Passion to Service) Program, which operates in four recreation centers and includes mentoring, education, family services, and alternatives with a goal of increasing protective factors for young people aged 14 to 23.
Mr. Hughes’ investment in his community goes beyond the regular parts of his job. He has helped with operations for the Columbus Recreation Talent Show and the Columbus Recreation Boxing Event for many years. He is also a longtime volunteer with Youth to Youth, serving as adult staff at Youth to Youth’s summer conference.
Mr. Hughes has also motivated other adults, especially men, to take on leadership and mentoring roles with Columbus youth and young adults. He recognizes the value of representation, service, and the importance of presenting opportunities for youth to learn from an array of adults who represent the diversity of the young people they serve.
Brittney Dangler, the OPPA member who nominated Dwight for his award, states, “Mr. Hughes shows young people what they can accomplish without using drugs and alcohol. I look up to Mr. Hughes for his ability to influence the lives of every child he connects with.”
Carey McKee is a recipient of the 2022 OPPA Community Champion Award, which recognizes an individual who goes beyond expectations to advance prevention in their community.
Carrie is the project coordinator for Clark County Partners in Prevention, a Drug Free Communities-funded coalition and a prevention specialist with McKinley Hall, a local behavioral health organization.
A retired educator with a background in building skills among youth, Carey entered the prevention world in 2018 when she came on board at McKinley Hall. She joined the Prevention Professionals Learning Community of Clark, Greene & Madison Counties, a profession networking group for the three-county region, immersed herself in prevention and coalition learning, and earned her Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist credential.
Carey's drive has made a difference. The relatively young coalition was awarded Drug-Free Communities funding in 2020, leading to a demarcation: The original Clark County Substance Abuse Coalition focuses on harm reduction and recovery efforts, and the new DFC-funded Clark County Partners in Prevention administers the DFC grant and leads the way on prevention.
Through her work with Partners in Prevention, Carey has raised prevention’s profile in Clark County, bringing together scores of collaborators from business, schools, civic organizations, and other sectors to tackle vaping, alcohol use, and other substance use priorities in the county.
With Carey’s leadership, the coalition has facilitated multiple initiatives, from youth alternative and community events to messaging campaigns and policy change.
“If prevention was a steam locomotive in our area, Carey would be the fuel,” said OPPA member Leslie Hoylman, Carey's nominator. “She works tirelessly on behalf of the youth in our community to change our community’s perceptions while moving us towards healthier outcomes.”
Twala Wills is a recipient of the 2022 OPPA Community Champion Award, which recognizes an individual who goes beyond expectations to advance prevention in their community.
Twala is a prevention assistant with Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program of Cincinnati. Her work with Cincinnati UMADAOP includes implementing prevention in the Cincinnati Technology Academy elementary and high school, located in an urban Appalachian area of Hamilton County.
Twala is resolute and "all in" when it comes to her students, their families, and the school community. She nurtures an environment based in protocols and procedures that reinforce well-being, and, as a result, has applied the tenets of community organization to mobilize resources, promote mental health, and implement science-based prevention strategies within the schools.
From substance use and suicide prevention to simply creating safe spaces for students, teachers, and other staff, Ms. Wills is immersed in strengthening the school community utilizing a foundation of environmental prevention in combination with prevention education.
Her commitment exists beyond the school walls, as well. She is trained in Creating Lasting Family Connections, a curriculum-based prevention program targeting both youth and parents within a family system. Ms. Wills embraces that the health of schools and communities is rooted in the health and wellness of families.
Alysia Longmire, who nominated Twala for the Community Champion Award, states, “Ms. Wills is an individual who understands and practices prevention using evidence-based strategies. I am humbled when I witness Ms. Wills’ energy, passion, and desire to use prevention to impact our communities.”