Manuel Archuleta Otero – Monterrey Elementary School Student:
I met Manuel when he was 11 years old, fifth grade student from Monterrey Elementary School in Roswell, New Mexico. Manuel is the oldest of five children. Manuel lived with his Grandmother Sylvia Archuleta.
As an 11 year old Manuel came from a home with many challenges.. He was not afraid to embrace a new challenge or to explore the unknown in his desire to learn new things. Manuel has many friends who admire his bravery to take a stand by working hard and to make good choices
December 2011 Manuel was selected by Chaves County Character Counts to present the essay he wrote before other elementary schools at the Roswell Convention Center. The title of his essay was “Actions Speak Louder than Words”. On January 14th 2011, attended a Chaves County DWI Youth Prevention Program at the Boys and Girls Club of Roswell on the many preventable tragedies caused by underage drinking, effects of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain and driving under the influences. The following day Manuel went to school and with his teacher Ms. Gustamantes wrote another very impacting essay on how the DWI program affected him.
At the young age of 11 years old Manuel was Chaves County’s DWI Leadership Program first and only elementary school student to take part which is reserved for Middle and High school students. He was then invited by The Honorable Lt. Governor John Sanchez to read his award winning DWI Prevention essay on the New Mexico Senate Floor where he also received a certificate of achievement. He was also recognized by the New Mexico House of Representatives’ on the House Floor where he received another certificate of achievement. Manuel’s dream is to be the first in his family to graduate high school and go onto graduate from college.
Manuel Archuleta Otero – Roswell High School Freshman:
Now as a freshman student at Roswell High, Manuel is excelling in every way and now as an honor roll student! The Chaves County DWI Youth Prevention and Awareness Program takes great pride in Manuel’s strong leadership skills he learned in part from our prevent program.
Manuel life is still challenging. After recently being release from serving a prison sentence for drugs his father is once again in jail awaiting trial on murder charges. His mother has been release from prison after serving for her offenses due to drugs and alcohol. She continues to move forward in her life with the help of her son.
One example of Manuel’s leadership: On October 2016, I received a call from Manuel asking if I could present the same Youth Prevention Program for his Roswell High school freshman class, as I did when he and I first met. On November 16th, not only did I present the program with Manuel’s help, New Mexico State Police Officer Joel Saenz joined in that presentation of what we now fondly call “Manuel Archuleta Otero’s DWI Prevention Program” Where Manuel stood tall and said let us all try to make a positive difference!
The message Manuel wanted to send to all his/her fellow students was the same message that impacted Manuel then and still today:
You hold the key to your future by making good choices to ensure your success. No partying with alcohol, or drugs legal or illegal is worth your life or future. DWI’s, drug, and alcohol dependencies’ are not victimless, it has to start by me making the right choice!
This is just one example of how Chaves County DWI Youth Prevention Program makes a difference, one kid, one adult at a time. We don’t know when, we don’t know how we will reach someone, we do know we cannot stop trying!!!