What Does It Mean to Be An Evolvement Leader

         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.

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