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Using My Voice by Rio Romero

Hi, my name is Rio Romero, I go to Los Lunas High School, and this is my third year in Evolvement. I always thought that there was a tobacco use problem amongst the youth in my community. So, when Evolvement came and presented the program, I was eager to join. Evolvement has given me so many opportunities and I am excited to share one of the more recent ones with you.

Early February 2022, my YFO contacted me about participating in a press conference for NMACT (New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco) at the Capital in Santa Fe. Of course I said yes and I was also excited that I would get to do it with two other Evolvement members (Jazelle Basped and Adrianna Casaus). On February 14, I met my YFO and Jazelle, at the Rail Runner train station around 5:30am and rode up to Sante Fe with them. We met Adrianna up at the station in Sante Fe and then walked to the Capitol
building. The press conference was outside and we watched a couple people present before it was our turn. Our segment was about five minutes and everything went smoothly. We talked about what Evolvement does, and what good things could come out of raising the tobacco tax. Afterwards we were able to talk with a couple legislators, and everyone seemed amazed with the work we were doing. It was a really amazing experience and I felt really proud of myself for being able to represent Evolvement and share that what we are doing today can make an impact on the minor tobacco use problem.

The press conference is only one of many great experiences Evolvement has given me. I like that Evolvement gives me the opportunity to use my voice to make change in my state. I feel strongly about what I am doing with Evolvement, and I plan on staying a part of it for as long as possible.

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