This week Makin’ It Happen will be highlighting our empowerYOUTH Seniors!  We are so grateful for their efforts and are wishing them the best on their future endeavors!

Josue R.  is a graduating senior at Manchester Central High School.  He became active in empowerYOUTH, an initiative of Makin’ It Happen, as a Freshman. 

 We asked Josue what or who encouraged him to take part in empowerYOUTH. Josue stated that he attended the Youth Opioid Summit and later was encouraged by his counselor Ms. Antoscia to attend a 3-day Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) workshop that Makin’ It Happen(MIH) was promoting along with the DEA. He shared that he, at first, went to get out of class but while there he got a “good vibe” from the people and the students all wanting to make a difference.

When asked about his favorite memory with empowerYOUTH Josue said “definitely Drug Take Back Day with the DEA and MIH, making the PSA with WMUR was cool too and I guess the overall feeling that you are helping people”.  

 Jon DeLena, Assistant Special Agent in Charge (ASAC), with the Northern New England DEA had this to say about Josue: 

In March of 2017, students from throughout New Hampshire were brought together as part of the nation’s first Youth Opioid Summit. I stood on stage that day and challenged each of those 8,000 young people to be UPstanders and not BYstanders. I asked that they join me in an incredible effort as we worked to empower New Hampshire’s young people to have a voice and be part of the solution to the opioid crisis which was impacting so many of our families and communities.

Josue was one of the brave young people who answered that call. He did so consistently and without hesitation. While the group that began to form was comprised predominantly of young ladies, Josue was not swayed. He provided a critical perspective to each event that the Empower Youth Group took part in. He found his voice in this effort and spoke proudly of what he wanted to accomplish.

None of this was easy for Josue. He often walked to make it to the events. He always found a way. He was a fixture at important events like Drug Takeback Day, and I knew we could always count on him.

I am very appreciative of all of Josue’s efforts. I congratulate him for all that he has accomplished and look forward to watching his continued success”.

Josue’s imparting words to his peers; He believes that “no matter how small an impact you think you are making, it is still worth it”. “Kids need to see both sides of this drug and alcohol thing—not just what they hear and see in their environment.”

Josue said that one of his biggest influences was his counselor,  Ms. Antoscia as well as his parents.  He also believes that being a part of the Hispanic culture is a huge asset that made him feel proud of who he is and about being different. He wants to be remembered as a good person who tried to be humble while making a difference.

Josue plans on going to a 2- year college first—maybe Manchester Community College and then transfer to a 4-year.  He wants to keep up boxing and just be successful in life.

 We are so proud of Josue! Congratulations on your graduation!