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Cherokee Nation Partners with Boys & Girls Clubs

Story by: Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker

Last year the Cherokee Nation donated more than $205,000 to nine different Boys & Girls Club chapters within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction in northeast Oklahoma. They will make that investment again this year. Currently, they support clubs in Bartlesville, Gore, Chelsea, Nowata, Tahlequah, Adair County, Delaware County and Mayes County. They are proud to be a partner and financial supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America within their tribal boundaries.

Almost 11,000 Cherokee Nation youth receive benefits from these organizations. Club participation can foster lifelong friends and mentors. Local clubs empower youth to support and influence their community, sustain meaningful relationships with others, develop a positive self-image and good character, participate in the democratic process, and respect their own and others' cultural identities. Locally, one of the most important functions they provide is a safe place for Cherokee kids to go before and after school and during the summer. Many of the local clubs even offer cultural classes based on Cherokee games, crafts and traditions.

There is nothing more critical to the future than investing in young Cherokee lives. The Cherokee Nation looks forward to their continued partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs in northeast Oklahoma.

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Mentoring in the Mountains: Exploring Native Traditions

Story by Jessica Carriker, Boys & Girls Club of York County- Catawba Unit

For many people the Catawba River offers a scenic place to kick back and relax while they throw out a line or kayak with family and friends. For the Catawba people, though, the river offers that and so much more. Indeed, the Catawba River gets its very name from the Catawba people and it has proven to be an integral part of their identity that connects their past and present together with hope for the future. Similarly, the Boys & Girls Clubs of York County’s Catawba Teen Center also serves as a meeting place in time where past history and hope for the future join together in the present generation, making it the perfect place for a mentoring program to do the most good.

Mentoring is a key part of the Catawba Teen Center as it provides guidance and support for members when they need it most. Support of mentors is of vital importance at the Teen Center where members are learning not only how to become members of society, but members of the Catawba Nation as well. At the Center, mentoring focuses on community involvement where the youth may learn directly from their elders, which serve as mentors. An example of elder involvement as mentors would start with Chief Bill Harris who remains committed to ensuring the Catawba youth at the Club stay on the right track. Chief Harris believes youth should not only learn from their elders, but they also need to be encouraged and constantly reminded that they have the ability to go beyond where their parents have gone.

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That GUY Making a Big Difference in Kids’ Lives!

Guy Klabunde, Director of Alaska Native Partnerships Boys & Girls Clubs of Southcentral Alaska, recently received the 2015 Maytag Dependable Leader Award. He began as a Club volunteer in 1991 and continues to positively impact youth’s lives throughout Alaska.

Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Maytag share a heritage of dependability dating back more than 100 years. Maytag builds high-performing and dependable products, and communities across America depend on Boys & Girls Clubs to help young people achieve great futures. Together they honored 11 selected Boys & Girls Clubs professionals and volunteers for their dependable, positive impact on America’s youth with a Maytag Dependable Leader Award. Recipients receiving this distinction also received a $20,000 financial award to support the Club’s efforts to be a safe, dependable place that enable young people to achieve great futures. The grant further extends Guy Klabunde's focus with the Clubs to continue and enhance his demonstrated commitment to helping youth achieve.

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Two Ohkay Owingeh Boys and Girls Club members Selected to Attend White House Tribal Youth Gathering

This July, the White House will host a Tribal Youth Gathering with the intention of fostering dialogue between Native youth and senior Administration officials. Two young women from Ohkay Owingeh Boys and Girls Club have been selected to attend the event, where they will share with top officials and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs their ideas about improving the lives of Native youth.

Taylor Moya, age 16, and Jordan Cailey Moya, age 15, are both active members of their community and are passionate about outreach. “Giving back to my community is important to me because it manifests a feeling of happiness,” writes Taylor. “I am proud to take part in my culture because there are many Native Americans that are losing their culture."

After attending a robotics event, Jordan was disappointed at the lack of participation from her fellow Club members. She decided to change this and, with the help of Club Director Jay Abeyta Jr., she designed robotics curriculum for the Club and now helps teach robotics classes for her peers. Both Taylor and Jordan are also involved with many other development efforts, including volunteering for child welfare organizations within their community. Good luck, Taylor and Jordan; you will both make excellent representatives!

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Celebrating New Beginnings

For one community in Washington State, new beginnings are being celebrated as the door open to a new Boys & Girls Club located in Inchelium, WA. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County recently held a dedication ceremony for a new Unit, known as the Inchelium Boys & Girls Club, built on the Colville Reservation through a partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Through opening an additional Unit, the Club is able to impact more lives by providing a safe and positive place to promote academic achievement, leadership skills, and healthy lifestyles while youth are out of school.

“We hope our Club will create an environment where youth can have fun, be creative, inventive, successful, and feel safe,” explained Unit director Pamela Phillips during an interview, “I am thrilled and honored to be part of this Club that will hopefully provide our children with ventures to become successful citizens."

Club kids will have the opportunity to hone important life skills while also exploring potential new interests and hobbies. The new community center that the Club calls home includes a gymnasium, game room, computer lab, and multi-purpose room. Having these resources allows for a variety of programming to be implemented after-school!

Bill Tsoukalas, Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County Executive Director, commented, “We’re excited about bringing the [Club] to the Inchelium community in partnership with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. This will be the second Native American Boys & Girls Club in Washington State and will be joining a family of over 175 tribal Boys & Girls Clubs in the country."

Are you interested in starting a Native Club or expanding your current organization by opening additional Units? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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BGCA Native Services Unit
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2107 N. Collins Boulevard
Richardson, TX 75080

Direct: 972-581-2374
E-mail: BGCANS@BGCA.ORG