My First Partner Presentation: Taking Action Concerning Tobacco-Use Among Youth in Otero County
Hi! My name is Maya Patrick, I live in Las Cruces, and I am a junior at Pecos Cyber Academy. I have been a part of Evolvement for about two years.
My time in Evolvement has given me so many opportunities to spread awareness about tobacco-use in my community and truly make a difference. Evolvement is a youth-engagement program that advocates for healthier communities, and the No Minor Sale campaign works to reduce tobacco sales to minors by focusing on the sale of flavored tobacco products (as they can be especially tempting to youth). I would love to work in the medical field one day and Evolvement has given me the platform to already make a difference concerning the health of youth in my community. Even as a high-schooler, I can work to educate youth about the effects of tobacco products on their health, and to promote initiatives that will reduce the sale of flavored tobacco products to these minors.
Recently, in early December 2021, I was given the opportunity to present about the No Minor Sale campaign to the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board. The Otero County Juvenile Justice Board is a group of volunteers who work to reduce the amount of youth in the juvenile probation system through advocacy and educational programs. I knew this presentation was a great way to spread the impact of the No Minor Sale campaign. The No Minor Sale campaign works to restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to minors, as well as educate and raise awareness about the dangers of these tobacco products for youth. I presented to the board alongside my sister, and we discussed the objectives of the No Minor Sale campaign, as well as the harmful effects of tobacco products on New Mexico’s youth.
Weeks ahead of the meeting, my sister and I discussed major talking points and prepared for the presentation. We focused especially on the importance of limiting the accessibility of flavored tobacco products, because they are notably more tempting for youth. Our goal for the presentation was for the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board to sign on as a partner with No Minor Sale because we wanted to expand the impact of our campaign to benefit Otero County youth. During the presentation, which took place on Zoom, we explained why it would benefit youth in Otero County if the board signed on with No Minor Sale. We hoped that by partnering with the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board, we could reduce the accessibility of tobacco products for these youth.
I was nervous for the presentation because I really wanted the Otero County Juvenile Justice Board to sign on with our campaign. However, the presentation went really well, and I was excited to answer the great questions that the members of the board posed after the meeting. I was overjoyed with how well the presentation went and I felt like I was genuinely able to make a difference in my community.
I am truly happy that I was able to take part in this presentation because I feel that it was a great step towards producing tangible change in the reduction of tobacco-use among New Mexico youth. I believe that reducing youth accessibility to tobacco products statewide will happen through the individual steps that organizations like No Minor Sale take towards tackling this issue, and I am proud to have contributed towards this objective in Otero County.
In the process of writing the presentation, I actually learned quite a bit about the harmful effects of tobacco products on youth and about the targeted advertisements used by the tobacco industry towards minors. I definitely feel more informed, but I am also more confident in my public-speaking abilities. This was such a rewarding experience and I hope I can continue to make progress with No Minor Sale towards protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco products.