"Nobody else can stop you," he said. "There’s potential inside you that nobody can put out except you."
Spenser, a 38-year-old Lakota who grew up on reservations, was keynote speaker for the youth conference banquet Thursday evening. But during the afternoon program, he spoke to the 336 participants in a more informal manner. He told them how he won the role of werewolf Sam Uley in the Twilight saga films. He said when he auditioned for the movie, "I was broke; I was a garbage man for a catering company."
He was also suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. When he announced he’s been sober for five years, his audience broke into applause, and drum group Young Kingbird responded with a loud mallet stroke.
Because of his success in his acting career and his recovery, Spenser said he promised himself he would give back to the community.
"I go around and try to help people as much as I can," Spenser said. "My life changed when I put down drugs and drinking."