On Stands Now
February 2024

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Graduating Seniors Include Three Active8 Members

Class of 2022 Active8 Members Araceli Gonzalez, Angelica Lovato, and McKayla Martinez have been an integral part of The Active8 Youth Coalition as well as Vida Del Norte Coalition since its founding. The Active8 represents our youth sector, ages 11 to 18. As members of Active8, they gain skills such as public speaking, organizing, and leadership. As youth leaders, they are often invited to volunteer and participate in many community events.

All three of these young ladies decided to join the Coalition after attending the New Mexico Youth Opioid Awareness Summit, in 2019. Since then, they have attended trainings in Washington, DC, and Dallas, TX.
These young ladies have also been part of focus groups, town hall meetings, and police officer luncheons where they presented and held one-on-one conversations. They have helped us understand what our community youth need and have been at the forefront of every youth event we hold. They have become true youth leaders through their work.

Araceli, Angelica, and McKayla never hesitate to volunteer for the crazy things we ask them to do! They help with the food pantry distribution, community egg hunts, summer camps, beautification of the farmers market site, and several municipal park and community clean-ups. Our community has become reliant on them—I get phone calls all the time asking if the Active8 can help with activities in the community. I usually send out a text telling them the dates and times and they always show up. Regardless of how busy they are, they always make time for Coalition work.

Each are involved in multiple extracurricular activities, they all hold jobs throughout the school year, yet still manage to be in the top five of their class. We are proud of these young ladies and what the future holds for all of them.

When asked what they will be pursuing next, they all have grand plans.

Angelica Lovato will be attending the University of New Mexico and majoring in biochemistry with the intent to attend medical school and become an anesthesiologist. When asked how the Coalition has impacted her life, she said “It has opened my eyes to how big of an impact drugs and alcohol has on my community. It also has taught me skills to help those who are struggling with substance abuse.” Angelica has shared these experiences, giving speeches at Taos community events, in videos, and one-on-one conversations with people in our community. She represents a true example of bringing awareness to her community and beyond.

Araceli Gonzalez will be attending New Mexico State University, majoring in environmental science. She hopes to return home someday and possibly work in the community in some capacity. She has expressed that she would like to focus on air pollution and air quality. When asked how the Coalition has impacted her life she said, “It has been eye-opening to the issues we have in our community, and when we traveled to DC it became apparent that we are not the only ones who have these issues, and it made me want to come back and make a difference at home.” Araceli has been a tremendous help for the coalition and has not been afraid to share her opinions and insight with the coalition on what she feels needs to happen in order for the adults in the community to support the youth. Araceli has become their voice.

McKayla Martinez will be attending New Mexico State University and majoring in criminal justice. When asked how the Coalition has impacted her life, she said, “It’s made me learn more about all the issues with our community and youth, and to find ways to help better our community and youth with resources and other things they may need.” McKayla was one of our summer interns last year and planned our youth-targeted events. She was also a camp counselor for the Vida Summer Camp.

All three young ladies will be receiving a Vida scholarship. We encourage you to join and participate in the Coalition. Our criteria is that you must actively serve at least one year throughout your four years of high school in order to receive the scholarship, conduct an interview on how the coalition has impacted their lives in their senior year, and have plans to attend a trade, certificate, or university program upon graduation.

Vida Del Norte Coalition will miss Angelica, Araceli, and McKayla, and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Contact Maria Gonzalez at mariagonzalez@vidadelnorte.com or at (575) 779-2260 for more info.