Penobscot’s Own Champion for Change

Carroll “CJ” Francis, Jr. from Sipayik Boys & Girls Club of Penobscot Boys & Girls Club has been recognized by the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY), a policy program at the Aspen Institute, as a 2017 Champion for Change! The Champions for Change program is CNAY’s cornerstone leadership development program which selects five Native youth between the ages of 14-24 years old from across the United States each year to share what they’re doing to tackle challenges in their community and inspire other Native youth to take positive action. The youth chosen for this honor possess the skill and passion to create a strong future for their tribes. The fifteen year old Club member from the Passamaquoddy Tribe will be introduced with the fifth class of Champions for Change through a series of events that will take place February 14 – 15, 2017 in Washington D.C.

Senator Byron Dorgan, founder of CNAY, said, “Each of the young leaders chosen this year has a remarkable story of leadership that has touched and inspired other young people in their communities. The ripples of hope created by these Champions are leading to positive change for Native youth.”

Francis was chosen for his goal of unity, strength, and healthy partnerships for all. His initiative is to bridge the intergenerational gap between Native youth and elders. Francis explained, “I want our youth to understand the importance of respecting, honoring, and learning from our elders. Our elders are the foundation of who we are, and in order to keep our culture, language, values, and traditions alive, we all must learn to do this.” Learn more about Francis and the other Native youth leaders chosen for this award here!

RSVP here if you would like to take part in Champions for Change events and to watch CJ be announced as a Champion of Change in Washington D.C.