Passing the TorchYa’at’teeh shikeh doo shidine’e. Hello, my friends and family. My name is Samantha L. and I am a recent graduate from Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, NM. I have been an activist in Evolvement throughout all four years of high school and had the opportunity to serve on the Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team for a year. I am attending the College of St. Josephs in Vermont starting in the fall. I am majoring in Physical Therapy and getting a minor in Photography, all while playing college basketball.
Working with Evolvement has taught me how to take action on the deficits within my community, plan events, conduct presentations, and work well with others; and it has greatly improved my public speaking skills. Throughout the years, we have witnessed many changes within communities across the state of New Mexico. School boards began to adopt our 100% comprehensive tobacco-free policies. With No Minor Sale, we have presented to many community organizations. There is one partner presentation that will always have an impact on me. My first No Minor Sale partner presentation was at the San Juan Rotary Club in Farmington, NM. Many members gave a personal message of support, including one who even survived lung cancer.
Spreading awareness about problems that people do not know are problems is why Evolvement is so important to me. I made a promise from my very first training to always fight for something that I feel passionate about and grow through the various opportunities provided. Evolvement gave me life skills and all the tools that I may ever need to work on policy and educational campaigns, conduct presentations, and plan events. Being a youth advocate is very important. We are the next generation and we have a voice. It is our time to make a change, to help schools and communities become truly tobacco-free. I want to thank everyone who has influenced my life in such an amazing way. I will always remember the work and trainings that Evolvement youth have done. Also, youth advocacy catches the attention of colleges. Some colleges even offer scholarships for the work that you do with Evolvement!