Wiconí Wasté Summer Internship Program

Wiconí Wasté, or “The Good Life,” is an exciting summer internship program at the Little Earth Extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This program, led by Program Director Ashlee Jallen and Program Coordinator Joe Beaulieu, partnered with Hennepin County and the Walker Art Museum to give teens six weeks of paid job experience working Monday-Thursdays. The staff also incorporated Career Launch, a BGCA program, two days out of each week to assist teens with resume building, cover letter writing, and mock interview prep. Once interns completed their resumes, they ventured to the Mall of America to job hunt! Equipped with their new knowledge, they were required to apply to a minimum of three jobs each.

In addition to providing support with resume building and job hunting, the staff took the interns to visit several Minnesota colleges. These included the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Dunwoody Tech, and Fond du Lac Tribal College. Interns were able to speak with Native faculty and learn more about their future educational opportunities. A career panel was also hosted by the Little Earth Extension featuring Native American professionals.


VISTA Members Organize Summer Events

In July, VISTA members Natalie Gould and Miah Smith worked to organize two annual events at the Boys & Girls Club of Brookings – Moody County: the ATV Raffle fundraiser and the Youth Triathlon. The ATV Raffle is held each summer to raise operating funds for the Club and the Triathlon is held as a fitness competition for youth. Both events are free, fun, and great opportunities for the community to come together.

VISTA members worked to recruit sponsorships for both community events. Local businesses that donated financially or in-kind were included in the event marketing. In-kind gifts allowed the Club to offer a meal at the ATV Raffle fundraiser, as well as early bird prizes and awards for winners at the Triathlon. Dozens of community members were recruited to help with these events. During both events, volunteers helped to sell the 500 raffle tickets and helped things run smoothly.

After six weeks of selling tickets, the ATV Raffle was held outside of the Club. The state National Guard provided a bouncy house for youth, and volunteers helped with games, music, and face paint. The event also included a speaking portion where youth, family members, board members, and staff spoke about the impact of the Club. It was a great success and helped to raise over $10,000 for the Club!


Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club Connect Through Lacrosse

Jacelyn and Mirabella Lazore recognized the need to give back more to their community and acknowledge their roles as mentors through involvement in the Akwesasne Boys & Girls Club (ABGC). Both were members of the ABGC Teen Program and currently volunteer in the Club’s Attack Lacrosse Program. In the program, the girls coach a Kindergarten-2nd grade group and referee games in the league.

When talking about Club activities Mirabella recalls, “I learned a lot through the cultural component of the Teen Summer Program. The Club made our cultural teaching more widely acceptable for all teens to learn.” Jacelyn shared, “one thing I remember the most is making the traditional cornhusk dolls without faces that were then donated to a foundation for missing and murdered aboriginal women!”

Involvement in traditional culture and lacrosse doesn’t stop at the Club for the two teens. In fact, Jacelyn and Mirabella’s lacrosse team at Salmon River High school was featured in “Keepers of the Game”, a documentary that chronicles the journey of the girls' lacrosse team from Akwesasne, NY. Prior to the start of the 2015 season, the team's funding was cut and the girls were forced to raise funds to complete their season, while battling the traditional notion that lacrosse is a medicine game only to played by men and boys. The documentary received a great deal of attention between a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2016 and air time on ESPN and ABC.


Nanakuli Clubhouse Youth Light Up the Night

This July the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii-Nanakuli Clubhouse hosted their 3rd Annual Summer Nights Concert and welcomed more than 400 guests!

The event was a celebration for the Club’s youth and their families to come together for an enjoyable evening of fun and community building. The event featured local entertainment from Walt Keale, a Native (Cherokee & Hawaiian) recording artist with a gift of story-telling. Keale is known to present music and culture in ways that engage listeners authentically and deeply. In addition to entertainment, local restaurants catered the event and youth joined in activities such as face painting, balloon twisting, snack shack concession, photo booth, and vendor booths set up by event sponsors.

Critical support from sponsoring organizations helped to make the event not only successful, but also free of cost to the youth and families. Local partners Hawaiian Electric Company, Queen Lili'uokalani's Children’s Center, and Makaha Studios all made contributions to support the event. Makaha Studios added a professional touch to the youth performances with sound equipment and special lighting.


Native Youth Kick-off a Healthy Summer with Under Armour Donation

Last month, several Native Clubs running the On the T.R.A.I.L. to Diabetes Prevention program received a gift to help them kick-off a healthy summer: a donation of Under Armour running shoes! The shoes were provided to Clubs to encourage youth and staff to continue staying active over the summer.

Below are some of the happy recipients from Boys & Girls Clubs of the Three Affiliated Tribes, ND; Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, MT; Boys & Girls Clubs of Rosebud, SD; Boys & Girls Club of Snohomish County, WA; and Boys & Girls Club of Wilson, OK. Special thanks to our friends at Under Armour for this generous donation!

Under Armour shoes donation

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BGCA Native Services Unit
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