Positive, Empowering Changes for Catawaba Indian Nation and the Boys & Girls Club of York County

Keeping youth, especially teens, involved and committed to education is important. Catawaba Indian Nation has taken a monumental step towards breaking down barriers that hinder teens from reaching their educational and career goals by partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of York County to open the Catawaba Teen Center located in Rock Hill, SC. A new teen center is a big deal for any Club but has been even more so fulfilling for the Catawaba Indian Nation as they were able to open the center a mere six months after receiving an OJJDP Tribal Youth Program grant.

The partnership between the tribe and Boys & Girls Club of York County stands solid with a universal goal in mind, which is to make a difference for the young people in the community. To ensure the needs of the youth were met, the tribe hosted meetings that welcomed the input of not only adults but of the youth as well. The responses received were overwhelmingly positive. The youth will remain to be a large voice in the decisions that are made both daily and long term.

With culture-based programming available at the teen center, participants are now involved with activities such as gardening, cooking, traditional pottery, college visits, and career exploration that allow for meaningful learning in an informal environment. As an example of the steps that are being taken to encourage educational success, a series of guest speakers has been organized to speak with the teens about opportunities pertaining to higher education. Events such as the guest speakers, hands-on activities, and college visits have allowed the teens to broaden their outlook on both educational and career goals. Formal learning experiences are also available through tutoring and homework sessions that are offered at the center.

Congratulations to the Catawaba Indian Nation and Boys & Girls Club of York County with the newfound success of the Catawaba Teen Center!

Photo: Alongside staff, members of the Catawba Teen Center inspect their newly planted garden.
Credit: Don Worthington