Hello, my name is Tearza Valencia! I am a senior at Grants High School and a dual enrollment student at NMSU- Grants Branch. Although I’m still in my first year of Evolvement, I have already been accepted as an Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team (ENMLT) member. I applied to be a member of the ENMLT after considering all of the opportunities that would be available, including the Leadership Summit sessions. I knew that the whole purpose of the Leadership Summit was to expand members’ professional and personal skills, which sounded like a great way to spend my summer! I also looked forward to getting to know the Evolvement team and their mission in a more interpersonal way.
As expected, my Leadership Summit experience has been informative, fun, and inspiring! Not only do I understand what is being asked of me as a changemaker, but I also have a clear idea of how to accomplish it. I have also been made aware of the fact that just because I am a leader, I am not expected to have everything figured out. This means that ENMLT members are encouraged to network and bond with each other, which has made our Social Sessions interesting. I’ve learned cool facts about my team, including their many hobbies and favorite songs. I have even heard their testimonies about why they joined Evolvement and why they are passionate about its objectives. In my opinion, that was the best part of every meeting because it made the connection between us all apparent. It was also motivating to learn about all the hard work every member has put into this one organization’s movement.
Thanks to my Summit experience, I have improved in a few categories including leadership, advocating through social media, and public speaking. I understand that taking initiative is an important quality of a good leader. I learned that connecting to others through social media and print-based media is vital to successful advocacy. I gained knowledge about rapport building, power poses and leading the conversation when speaking to others regarding Evolvement’s purpose and goals.
I know that everything I’ve learned during this experience will benefit me in the present as well as in the future. From meeting with my principal to hosting an event at my school, I will demonstrate the skills and confidence that attending the Leadership Summit helped me expand. I truly cannot wait to see what the ENMLT, including myself, accomplishes this year!--> Hello, my name is Tearza Valencia! I am a senior at Grants High School and a dual enrollment student at NMSU- Grants Branch. Although I’m still in my first year of Evolvement, I have already been accepted as an Evolvement New Mexico Leadership Team (ENMLT) member. I applied to be a member of the ENMLT … Read More
Hello all of you amazing people! I want to take a moment to say I’m really happy! Why? Because I’ve recently gotten to have the experience of a lifetime. One of my best friends recently quit vaping and I was a part of why he stopped. A few months ago, I asked him to take a quick survey: www.surveymonkey.com/r/NMS_survey_FY22.
This survey asks questions about tobacco products being sold to minors. After taking the survey he talked to me about his own issues with vaping, and how he just couldn’t seem to quit, then again, he never tried. That was the problem. After talking he took it upon himself, without telling anyone, including me, to quit the habit. He said taking the survey and reading through what it tells you at the end, opened his eyes as to how harmful tobacco products could be. Even though he had only started a year ago, he noticed that he didn’t have as much energy as he used to. He and I hadn’t talked for a month and a half, then he called and told me he had “done it.”
“Done what?” I asked, confused by how he started the conversation.
“I quit vaping!”
Those words might not mean much to you, but in my eyes, I just helped one of my best friends and I didn’t even know it. I’m still completely shocked, and happy just by having a simple conversation. By him saying that he quit because of a little survey I asked him to take, made me want to continue helping people and continue getting people’s attention on how tobacco really does affect people’s lives. He inspired me to put myself out there and make that difference. In all honesty, I can’t say that I knew tobacco affected people that quickly, but hearing it from him, a 17-year-old, opened my eyes too. Working with No Minor Sale has changed my life even though I don’t use tobacco products. If you asked me a year ago to go out and ask random people to take a survey, I would have said no. Now here I am, wondering how many other lives I’ve helped change. I guess it’s true, you really do learn things every day.
The link above is specific for New Mexico residents. In this survey, it asks if the survey taker is concerned about minors using tobacco products, if flavored tobacco products are safer than traditional products, if flavors are more appealing to minors, and if tobacco products target certain races, and populations. If you want to be part of the change, please click the link above and take the survey. It takes less than five minutes. If you do decide to take the survey, my evolvement ID is: 18155. You will need this ID at the end of the survey.
Good bye for now!--> Hello all of you amazing people! I want to take a moment to say I’m really happy! Why? Because I’ve recently gotten to have the experience of a lifetime. One of my best friends recently quit vaping and I was a part of why he stopped. A few months ago, I asked him to take … Read More
Hi! My name is Genoveva Gallegos or Genny for short. I am a senior at Pecos Connections Academy and I am from Tucumcari, New Mexico. I have been with the Evolvement team for 4 years, but have been on the leadership team for 2 years. Evolvement is a youth led program for students, like me, in high school to advocate against tobacco in our schools and communities. With the help of the Evolvement crew, I can help bring change to New Mexico to make it a safer and healthier place to live.
As a youth leader I have attended a summit training to help me prepare for meetings with principals, law makers, and other students to help educate and put policies in place to ensure safety of students and families across the state of New Mexico. At Summit, I am given tools to help me throughout each year and I also get to have some fun along the way as well. I do group sessions with the other members of the team and the Evolvement staff to relax, get to know each other, and have some fun together. I joined the Leadership Team in 2020, so unfortunately, I couldn’t meet with them in person for Summit that year or in the current year, 2021. I’ve done it all through Zoom, but despite it being online I have still learned a lot and gained a lot of skills.
I know what you may be wondering, what kind of skills does the Evolvement program teach? Well, for me personally, my struggles have always been public speaking and social interaction especially in professional settings. With the Evolvement team I have learned to become better at those specific skills. Although I still struggle in these two areas, I can say that I have overcome a lot to become more comfortable. Before meetings, such as with lawmakers, they have taught me how to prepare and they practice it with me prior to the meetings and I even practice on my own. This has helped me with my social skills and public speaking skills.
For any student just starting or those who are already in high school and looking to better their social skills and public speaking skills and looking to make a change, Evolvement is a great start to step into the path to do so. It has been a great opportunity to help bring change against big tobacco industries to help keep my community and family from the dangers and risks of tobacco use.--> Hi! My name is Genoveva Gallegos or Genny for short. I am a senior at Pecos Connections Academy and I am from Tucumcari, New Mexico. I have been with the Evolvement team for 4 years, but have been on the leadership team for 2 years. Evolvement is a youth led program for students, like … Read More
Hi! My name is Rio Romero and this year I will be a sophomore at Los Lunas High School. I joined Evolvement October of my freshman year. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of a movement that is going to make change.
I’ve already done so much with Evolvement, and I haven’t even been a member for a year yet. Because of coronavirus, events have been limited to Zoom meetings. But that hasn’t stopped us from still finding ways to advocate and have our voices heard. I’ve presented over Zoom about five times already with the Virtual Day of Action being one of them.
Although I do enjoy Zoom meetings, I was excited to get the opportunity to be a part of a live event. I signed up right away! This event was through our No Minor Sale campaign. We had a tent at the Juneteenth festival at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque. Me and my fellow Evolver, Jazelle Basped, were in charge of getting people to take No Minor Sale opinion surveys using the iPads that were given to us. At first, I was feeling pretty shy but by the end of the day I was having no problem talking and asking people to take our surveys. The festival had live music which was so cool and I really enjoyed getting to talk with Jazelle. I would do the event again in a heartbeat, and it’s just a really good feeling to know that I am a part of making a healthier community.--> Hi! My name is Rio Romero and this year I will be a sophomore at Los Lunas High School. I joined Evolvement October of my freshman year. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of a movement that is going to make change. I’ve already done so much with Evolvement, and I haven’t even been … Read More
Hi! My name is Ariana Salguero. I attend Portales High School in Portales, New Mexico. I joined Evolvement my sophomore year when a fellow Leadership Team member told me about Evolvement (hey Cali!!). I have been in Evolvement for one year and this is my first year on the Leadership Team. Joining this organization during a pandemic was very eye-opening to me, to see people trying to make change through a worldwide virus outbreak.
Joining during a pandemic was the best thing I ever did. It got me out of my shell. It let me meet people from all around my state with my busy school schedule and let me build a bridge to people through my computer. Even though I prefer more in-person events, I enjoyed all the virtual training and hangouts that I have been to. The leadership summit has been a very enjoyable experience because it is so nice to see kids from my school try and make changes as well as getting to have group texts with new friends from other schools. I also love exchanging accomplishments and seeing what I want to try to achieve with my journey in Evolvement the rest of my high school career.
Being a part of Evolvement has shown me to be less selfish, look beyond myself and at my peers and my community members. Also, something that has stuck out to me since my first training was to watch tobacco ads and promotional videos with a different lens and how they target minorities and young adults. This has shown me to look at every single ad, product, and commercial from a different point of view. I can speak out, talk to legislators, promote tobacco-free schools through 24/7, and the harmful effects of flavored tobacco products on teenagers through No Minor Sale. I’ve learned that I have the opportunity to make a difference and that getting my voice heard is possible.--> Hi! My name is Ariana Salguero. I attend Portales High School in Portales, New Mexico. I joined Evolvement my sophomore year when a fellow Leadership Team member told me about Evolvement (hey Cali!!). I have been in Evolvement for one year and this is my first year on the Leadership Team. Joining this organization during … Read More
Hello, My name is Brittany Romero. I am going to be a junior at Mora High School, and I am a freshman at Luna Community College. I have been in Evolvement for a year and this is gonna be my second year. I joined Evolvement to help not only my school and community, but help others stay tobacco-free. What I have learned over this past year is to not take anything for granted. I know that sounds cheesy but Evolvement is about spreading awareness and stopping young people like myself, before they even start smoking.
The Leadership Team Summit is great because they don’t just inform, but they make it fun and exciting to be a part of a group that cares about others. We have done 2 sessions for the Leadership Summit and I can’t wait to be in the next session. They have made getting to know the facts as a way to have fun. For example, the last session we had, we had to dress up for “Beach Vacay.” We were even given supplies so that we wouldn’t have trouble finding supplies for this meeting, along with snacks and toys to keep us from dying of boredom. But we don’t need the toys anyway as we have plenty of fun during the Summit.
During the meeting we would go into separate meeting rooms so that everyone could meet, and talk. We would talk about 24/7 campaigns and No Minor Sale surveys. Each campaign has its own way of helping others. 24/7 is about “Making New Mexico Schools 100% Tobacco-Free.” 24/7 helps schools adopt our tobacco-free policy standards. They also provide supplies like: signs and kits, that help the schools spread word about 24/7. Thanks to the 24/7 Campaign Manager, Raquel Mooring and the youth evolvers, the policy has been adopted in many schools. The No Minor Sale campaign “aims to end the access to and illegal sale of tobacco products, including e-cigs, to minors in New Mexico.” Thanks to the No Minor Sale Campaign Manager, Michael Kelly and the youth evolvers, we have educated many people on the dangers of tobacco products across New Mexico.
All in all, I would like to thank everyone for the amazing work they have done to help New Mexico stay tobacco free. They all represent Evolvement. A special thanks to Andrea for helping me my first year and Amanda for teaching me now and helping me get to know Evolvement even more. I have learned a lot and hope to learn even more.--> Hello, My name is Brittany Romero. I am going to be a junior at Mora High School, and I am a freshman at Luna Community College. I have been in Evolvement for a year and this is gonna be my second year. I joined Evolvement to help not only my school and community, but help … Read More
Hello, My name is Mia Rodriguez, I’m a recent graduate of Capital High School. I was in my sophomore year of high school when I joined Evolvement. In the summer before entering my senior year, I joined the Leadership Team.
What makes a good leader? It’s being able to communicate with other teammates and being able to take charge any time. When you are listening to others on your team, it makes them feel comfortable that you as a leader know what you are doing. Not only that, but it shows that you’re willing to hear ideas from each member of the team and consider them. Having a person take charge when no one else does makes a good leader. It displays that whatever situation you are in you can easily take charge. Being in Evolvement made me take charge in principal meetings and No Minor Sale presentations. It made me more comfortable answering adults about what Evolvement is and how it can help.
Being a leader in the Evolvement program had an impact on me because I could see that I can be a leader and I can take charge of events and meetings. It also helped me improve in group work and advance in my AVID class. AVID is Advancement Via Individual Determination. This is a program that you can join in High School to get help with school work, college preparation and much more. In AVID you have to be a leader when working with others and be a leader at academic work. The leadership program in Evolvement has greatly impacted me by helping me grow into a better leader and it also taught me how to be a team player.--> Hello, My name is Mia Rodriguez, I’m a recent graduate of Capital High School. I was in my sophomore year of high school when I joined Evolvement. In the summer before entering my senior year, I joined the Leadership Team. What makes a good leader? It’s being able to communicate with other teammates and being … Read More
Hello! My name is Tearza Valencia and I’m a Junior at Grants High School. I became a member of Evolvement just this year. Despite being new to the cause, I recently had the opportunity to speak with my state legislators during the Virtual Day of Action and I took it!
Events like the Virtual Day of Action give students like me a chance to go a step further as a changemaker. At events like this, we are allowed to express our concerns and have them taken seriously. It gives us a chance to speak with important people that can help us make a larger impact on the issue we are tackling. At this Virtual Day of Action, my team of fellow Evolvers and I discussed the dangers of tobacco with our state legislators. We also expressed our support for strong tobacco-free policies that could benefit everyone. Policies we advocated for included a ban on flavored tobacco products and an increase in tobacco-free schools. These policies would make communities safer and healthier. The issues prompting the desire for these policies are very apparent. Flavored tobacco products are more appealing to youth. This matters because 1 in 3 high schoolers reported using e-cigarettes. Another reason is that over 90% of nicotine addictions start before the user is 18 years of age. A flavor ban policy, as well as comprehensive tobacco-free school policies, could prevent nicotine addictions from even starting, thus preventing tobacco addictions as well.
Talking to legislators during the Virtual Day of Action felt empowering! Knowing my voice was heard and that I was taking steps to protect my generation was extremely rewarding. Working with Evolvement has taught me the importance of policy; it helps guide legislators to make great decisions for their communities. Other students getting involved in policy leads to more awareness and informed youth advocacy. Evolvement is filled with informed students and that is why our suggested policy changes are worth supporting.--> Hello! My name is Tearza Valencia and I’m a Junior at Grants High School. I became a member of Evolvement just this year. Despite being new to the cause, I recently had the opportunity to speak with my state legislators during the Virtual Day of Action and I took it! Events like the Virtual Day … Read More
My name is Kamorie Thomas and I go to Navajo Preparatory School and I have been in Evolvement for two years going into my third year. I joined Evolvement to be a part of making a difference in communities and doing something that can help change other people’s lives. Also to improve on my public speaking. The process of joining Evolvement was not that hard, it was easy. I have a few friends who are in Evolvement. I had a school advisor suggest I be involved in Evolvement and explained to me what they did and what they do.
My first training was during my sophomore year. I was nervous during my first training because I only knew a little bit of the process but when I got the training it was fun! I didn’t really have any experience in public speaking and talking to people that I didn’t know but, I met some new people and heard their experiences. The training had different activities that were interactive which made the training more fun for me. Also to be able to listen to other people’s views and what they thought. My favorite activity during the training was watching the different videos about tobacco and being able to hear other people’s reaction and their thoughts of what they could do to help stop what they saw in those videos. As I did the activity we were split into different groups and assigned one video and watching those videos impacted me because kids were in these videos. The videos hit my soft spot – thinking about kids having access to tobacco products and thinking it’s candy would put them in danger. Those kids don’t know what those products are. That was one of my favorite activities, talking about what can be done and to prevent kids from accessing these products.
From the experience I had, I had gained more knowledge of what Evolvement does and what they work with. I also learned more about tobacco and the statistics. From the training I have also benefited from sharing my thoughts and having more confidence in talking to many people in one room. For new Evolvement students that are going to the upcoming training should expect a warm welcome and friendly people and cool team members that are there to help. For the returning Evolvement students, keep having a fun time taking down tobacco and help the new students learn and help them be a part of something that will surely make a difference.--> My name is Kamorie Thomas and I go to Navajo Preparatory School and I have been in Evolvement for two years going into my third year. I joined Evolvement to be a part of making a difference in communities and doing something that can help change other people’s lives. Also to improve on my public … Read More