UNC Pembroke senior Kamren Lewis has been selected as the 2022 recipient of the John H. Barnhill Civic Trailblazer Award.
Since 2011, North Carolina Campus Engagement has presented the award annually to one college student in the state who demonstrates innovation in civic engagement, works to integrate their service into campus structures, inspires others to serve, and makes a meaningful impact on campus or in the community.
NCCE honored Lewis during a virtual awards ceremony on Nov. 18. He will also be recognized during the NCCE Presidents Forum on Feb. 15, 2023, hosted at High Point University.
Lewis, a social work major, is truly a trailblazer whose efforts will leave a legacy. During the second semester of his freshman year, he began mentoring middle schoolers through the Office of Community and Civic Engagement. This experience resulted in him helping to create the Brave Foundations Mentoring Program.
Through this partnership with the Lumberton Housing Authority and the Pembroke Housing Authority, UNCP students mentor youth in two public housing communities each week. Lewis developed, implemented, recruited volunteers, and helped design the curriculum, which includes social activities and life skills.
Based on his work with the Brave Foundations Mentoring program, Lewis was allowed to serve as an intern with the Lumberton Housing Authority. This role has allowed him to help coordinate efforts to provide the public housing residents with necessary services and resources through events such as a school supply drive, Halloween trunk or treat, food boxes for Thanksgiving, and an Empty Christmas fund to provide gifts for families. To sustain the mentoring program, he has partnered with various university stakeholders and community partners, including the Lumberton Housing Authority, Pembroke Housing Authority and Old Main Stream Academy. The impact he has created expands to include his peers, whom he volunteers alongside each week. As he prepares to graduate, he has invested time preparing the next leaders to jump in and continue growing his legacy.
Lewis has stepped up to lead other student service leaders as the senior student service leader. In this role, he attended staff leadership meetings and served as a liaison between the student leaders and professional staff. He has served as a service-learning teaching assistant and peer mentor for students on academic probation, helping navigate them toward academic success.
Additionally, he has served as a student leader at Hawk Camp, an intensive leadership program for first-generation college students. He has spent time supporting the CARE Resource Center, the Greater New Orleans Therapeutic Riding Center, Giving Hope Food Pantry, and Lumber River United Way.
One of his nominators, Evan Long, associate director for Service-Learning, stated, “If you ask any of his peers or colleagues, they will all tell you that Kamren is one of the most hard-working and dependable people they know. He rarely misses a Day of Service or an opportunity to serve others,” Long said.
“He is committed to advocating and being a champion for others to ensure they have the resources they need to achieve their own goals successfully,” he said. “Kamren is a role model and a mentor and has made a significant impact on the lives of others during his time at UNCP. His legacy will continue through his efforts to engage others in service and his vision to create a mentoring program that has left a lasting impact.”
Lewis is set to graduate during Fall Commencement on Dec. 10.