Hello! My name is Faviola Marin, and I recently graduated from V. Sue Cleveland High School and the Evolvement program. I started Evolvement three years ago, unaware of how it would impact my life. I was a shy sophomore, not really sure how to talk to people, but here I was thrown to the wolves at my first event: The National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show. It was completely nerve-racking, going up to adults to ask if they knew anything about Clear the Haze, our campaign at the time. You had people who misinterpreted what we were trying to do and some people who brushed it off cause we were kids, but you also had those people who, although they saw us as kids, were inspired to see us succeed and thought we were doing a fantastic thing.

Through many events this was a constant thing I saw — you had people who used tobacco and had no idea how harmful it actually was tell you they decided to change their ways. And I think that’s the most important thing you can take from being in Evolvement — knowing that you actually impacted at least one person through the many escapades; knowing that even you, the shy one, have grown as a leader in the youth community; realizing that your voice is heard.

When I started I didn’t think my voice mattered, I didn’t want to be heard because I thought I would waste my time, but that wasn’t the case at all. Having done Evolvement for three years and been involved in the leadership team for two, you get so many amazing opportunities and friends along the way. You see all the hard work you’ve done broadcasted on the news. You’re able to talk to legislators who believe in the same things you do and start to see a change. You feel the impact when you start going into your own community and talking to principals, the school board, and even your own representative, thinking, “wow, I really am making a change and all these people acknowledge it!”

If it wasn’t for Evolvement I wouldn’t have found a passion, a voice, and the people who have truly impacted my life, making me who I am today. Thank you for the past three years, I’ll miss this.

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