My Experience Arrowhead Park Trunk or Treat Event by Emilio T

Hi, my name is Emilio Trejo, I am currently a freshman at Arrowhead Park Early College High School. I joined Evolvement in 2019 and since then have done work for both parts of the organization, “No Minor Sale,” and “24/7”. No Minor Sale advocates for tobacco retailer licensing, which in turn decreases the risk of tobacco sales to minors. In contrast, 24/7 advocates to keep tobacco-free school environments. Both, “No Minor Sale,” and “24/7,” were represented at a trunk or treat event for Halloween at my school, which is the focus of today’s blog.

On October 29, 2019 Evolvement set up a booth at Arrowhead Park Early College High School, during their parking lot trunk or treat event. The Evolvement organization provided free merchandise that could be given away in exchange for a filled out “24/7” survey, or a “No Minor Sale” support card. The 24/7 Survey let’s our campaign gauge what my school community knows about our tobacco policies, and the No Minor Sale Support Card lets us know how many people in New Mexico support ending tobacco sales to minors.

Another Evolver and I went around the parking lot asking trunk or treaters to fill out support cards and surveys, while others manned the booth. We also had games like throwing ping pong balls into cups of water to win prizes. We received 43 NMS support cards and 66 24/7 surveys – a huge accomplishment!  I also remember that there were many people who supported the cause and were very enthusiastic about filling out surveys, and filling out “No Minor Sale,” support cards with personal experiences.

This experience helped me to understand more about the work Evolvement is doing and how it is benefiting the community, and also how many people in New Mexico support the cause. The surveys and support cards collected over the course of the evening helps the campaign to come closer to reaching its goals, which are reaching and maintaining truly tobacco-free school environments, and stopping tobacco sales to minors. Youth that get involved not only help their school community stay healthy, but also aid in the prevention of tobacco sales to minors across the state. It’s better to be involved than to stand back and let others get hurt by the effect of tobacco.

I also gained a lot of confidence personally by having to get out of my comfort zone and speak to people about filling out these surveys and support cards. By educating the people with facts and information I have learned by being in Evolvement as well as hosting this event, I feel more prepared to go out into my community and educate others about tobacco and public health.

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