Hi, my name is Violet Ramos and I am a senior at Gadsden High School in Anthony, NM! I have been a member of Evolvement since my freshman year and have been an active member all 4 years of high school, and of course finally decided to join the leadership team my senior year. I have to say that these 4 years in Evolvement truly have been so much fun and overall a great experience as well as a way for me to grow as a leader and member of my school and community. As I said before, it took me 3 years to decide to join the leadership team but the months leading up to the final steps were the moments I knew I wanted to become an official state leader in the program! As a member in my school, I felt that I had already been such an involved Evolver before and knew that as a leader there would be so many more opportunities that would be available for me. Plus, I had the support of my Campaign Managers and Youth Field Organizers all throughout high school which helped me gain a bit more confidence in myself and in attending the Leadership Summit. Although in all honesty, if it wasn’t for Zoom, I’m not too sure if I would have even taken part. Just kidding! Yes, Zoom did help make attending a lot easier but either way, I would have chosen to take part in the Summit nonetheless because I thought it would have been such a great experience! Now as I said before, this is my first year as a Leadership Team member but I will say, as an Evolvement member I have been given so many opportunities at school and in my community to help both spread awareness on a very important subject in New Mexico as well as build my confidence and leadership skills which have then helped me in my everyday life as well. One experience that I have to say was one of my favorites and also probably the most nerve racking was speaking to the state representatives for Day at the Capitol. When I participated it was virtual so it was of course much different than what I would have experienced, but speaking to these representatives allowed me to really break out of my comfort zone and show that even youth show concern for things like the illegal sale of tobacco to minors or the policies that schools have in regards to the use and possession of tobacco products. I also feel that as a member I was able to get an idea of what speaking to someone other than community members feels like. Before, I was used to speaking to people that I already knew and this was a whole new experience for me! I had such a great time speaking with all the representatives but also was glad to have been given the opportunity because I feel that as a member of Evolvement, I will be able to say that I did something for my community in my high school career which I would say is one of my greatest accomplishments. Overall, I think that being an Evolvement member is a huge accomplishment in itself but if you are ever given the opportunity, join the Leadership Team! Much of what I have done throughout high school doesn’t compare to the things I have done just within the past year as a Leadership Team member! I have been able to strengthen my leadership skills as well as have an impact on my school and my community as someone who has shown concern for the health and safety of our New Mexico youth. Plus, if you plan on doing something amazing in your future, just think of how great being an active community member would look on a college application! I truly feel that in participating I have become a better person and a much stronger leader, as well as just having support from all the people in Evolvement as well as the Campaign Managers and Youth Field Organizers! Evolvement really is a community thing and as I’m writing this and as you may be reading this, I hope you consider taking part in the community that is the Evolvement organization!