Youth Development: The Cornerstone of Self-Sufficient Communities
“Let us put our minds together to see what we can build for our children,” urged Chief Sitting Bull. It is a common goal of parents – to provide a ‘better’ life for their children, with less hardship and more opportunity.
Unfortunately, Native American youth face many obstacles to realize success in our modern society, including widespread poverty, low access to educational supplies and information, devastatingly low graduation rates and a deficit of Native college role models. However, Partnership With Native Americans believes that youth development is one of the most important cornerstones of self-sufficiency and quality of life. It is also a crucial factor in addressing long-term challenges on reservations.
Through its programs, PWNA supports youth development in many forms, including:
- Encouraging parent-child reading time through books and other incentives
- Supporting parenting classes, family support groups and youth cultural camps
- Affording school supplies to students without access
- Championing access to adequate information about educational opportunities
- Supporting college-readiness camps that encourage a college mindset and prepare Native students for freshman year
- Providing grants to post-secondary schools that equip students with pre-requisite “tools for learning”
- Offering grants and emergency funding to universities, tribal colleges and other vocational institutions with large Native student bodies
While outside assistance is important, family and community support is the most influential factor in youth development. Through its reservation partnerships, PWNA supports parents and family members in providing meaningful encouragement to overcome obstacles and misconceptions and to expect educational attainment. Through these varied levels of support, young children and adolescents are better equipped for academic success.
The long journey of self-sufficiency and success usually starts with small steps, such as a new backpack full of school supplies that gives a young child confidence and pride. Similarly, a small donation can make a big impact in a Native child’s life. A donation of just $15 to our 100-day supply drive will provide a youth in need with four composition books, pencils and erasers while saving their family enough money to buy eight cans of vegetables.