Making new friends. Getting to see new places. Using their voices and realizing that they are heard. These are just a few of the top takeaways Reality Check champions from Western New York, as well as across the state, listed as what they learned (and loved) most from their recent educational demonstration at the annual Altria Shareholders’ meeting in Richmond, Virginia.

We were so impressed with their authentic perspectives that we decided to share them here, complete with an epic photo gallery.

  • ” I  Iearned that I can take this information back to my community and remain focused on what needs to be done to continue the projects and messages that we have started here at Altria. “
  • ” The highlight for me was meeting new people 🙂 and seeing everybody I met last year from the other Reality Check groups.”

  • ” By doing ice breakers, I was able to connect with the other members. I broke through my shyness and introduced myself.”
  • ” It was fun. I met a lot of great people and feel like I can make a difference.”
  • ” I felt like everyone was accepted and ‘fit in’ because we were all fighting against the same thing: Big Tobacco.”
  • ” It’s hard to learn the harsh reality of what the tobacco industry is doing in our community. But I’m glad I did.”
  • ” I felt more confident in myself after sharing my opinions.”

  • ” I am inspired to share what I learned about e-cig flavors and tobacco targeting with my friends back home.”
  • ” I learned that Big Tobacco keeps doing the same thing over and over to get kids hooked. Things won’t change unless we keep it going.”
  • ” I was most amazed by how welcoming the citizens of Richmond were to us. They congratulated us for our efforts and believed we were doing a good thing for speaking up. ”