Do you have creative, passionate, or driven teens that need a platform to express themselves and/or their work with their peers around the country? Maybe you have teens interested in staying updated with current events, leadership opportunities, or even health, wellness, or arts programs? If the answer is yes, check out the updated and redesigned virtual Boys & Girls Club, MyClubMyLife.com! It’s a website where they can do just that!
Here your teens can access a variety of interactive content based on existing BGCA programs. Recently, it was redesigned to help Club teens around the country connect with one another more quickly and effectively. Teen members can share their voice by submitting articles, how-to’s, artwork, and other content for publication. Not only is it an exciting and fun way to instantly share content, it is an excellent opportunity for Native teens to promote their voices and communities in a safe, friendly, and supportive environment. For more information on how your teens can submit content, click here!
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.
Language holds the key to cultural, scientific, and historical knowledge about the world we live in; and each time a language is lost, an entire encyclopedia of knowledge goes with it. Therefore, it is extremely important that language can be protected and utilized at every opportunity possible with youth, especially the youngest members, to ensure our languages get passed on to future generations. Factors that influence the usage and relevancy of a language include the overall number of speakers, the amount of parental involvement in language programming, and the language’s adaption to new domains, or environments where the language is spoken (schools, businesses, restaurants, community events, social media/technology etc.). The more that youth and their families are exposed to the language and use it, the higher likelihood it has for members to speak on a regular basis and pass it on.
As we all know, language and culture are inextricably connected! Think about ways you can highlight your culture(s) and relevant programming using language, such as the poster shown here that expresses the phrase “Healthy and Well” in Navajo, Zuni, and Ojibwa among others.
As summer is winding down and preparations for the fall semester begins, high school students will begin to hear more about what options are available to them once high school is complete. Here are five universities that were featured on Indian Country Network Today that focus on helping Native youth in achieving their dream. These universities offer scholarships and sometimes free tuition for Native Student making access to college easier and more cost effective.
Humbolt State University
Have an interest in studying science? Humbolt State University’s Indian Natural Resources, Science,and Engineering Program (INRSEP) could be the perfect program. The university recruits and provides support services to Native youth who are interested in STEM related content.
University of Maine
The University of Maine offers free tuition for Native students who are residents or who establish residency in Maine after one year of living in state. A needs-based room and board grant program is also available.
So many of the wonderful out of school time programs offered at Clubs are designed to increase self-esteem and help youth aspire to be the best they can be. In addition to the leaders among their peers and the caring, consistent staff at the Club who inspire them, youth benefit from seeing other Native youth make a difference in their communities.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth’s Dreamstarter Program is designed to recognize young leaders and provide them with grants to make their dreams for their community come true. With support from Olympic gold medalist Billy Mays, Dreamstarter identifies youth who are striving to make a difference, pairs them with a non-profit, and awards them the grant funding they need to get their project off the ground. While the application season for Year 2 is now closed, Running Strong will continue to provide ten $10,000 grants each year to community non-profits who will mentor a young Dreamstarter and work with them to implement a project inspired by the young person’s dream for her or his community.