Making A Difference
Community involvement is something that can start small and make a big impact. Check out a few stories from youth activists about how and
why they decided to make a difference. Get inspired! Indian Country, rise up!
Protecting sacred sites? Speaking up about climate change? Fighting for our rights? Making your voice heard? Tell us about it!
Have an idea? Apply for up to $475 to make a difference in your community.
In June, the Nulato Tribal Council (NTC), Nulato Life Project (NLP), State of Alaska and Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) held a boating safety class in Nulato. This was a two day class and covered risky and safe behavior while on or near the water. William Agnes, James Patsy II, Marvin Cimeon Mountain IV and Elizabeth Stanley each presented a subject to the community and gave out free life jackets.
In September, Ma'iingaans Loonsfoot (Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe), age 23, created a lacrosse program to bring back our traditional game of lacrosse and provide youth with a healthy alternative to drugs and alcohol. Anyone that wanted to learn about the tradition and modern games of lacrosse along with the history of the game and traditional teachings, like respect, that go into playing lacrosse, could. The project is still ongoing and I work with many school groups at least once a month. I also work with the men's and women's collegiate lacrosse teams in my area to teach them how to be good mentors and role models for the tribal youth in the area. I also am really excited about this project because, I am able to be a leader/role mode and mentor of lots of tribal youth. So because I never had any good role models growing up, I wanted to do something that allowed me to help mentor other kids who don't have good role models. I'm always there for them to lean on. If you are interested in carrying out a similar project, I suggest sticking with it; It can be hard to start a new project, but if you stick with it you can accomplish anything! Also, have fun! When you are engaged with the people you work with then you can have a greater impact. Even if you don't think your project/program was a success, it was. Even if only one person showed up you probably made an impact in their life whether you know it or not. I always say that the people who show up are the ones that are meant to be there.
Kiara Garcia (Nez Perce), age 18, is making a positive impact in Lapwai, Idaho. In April, Kiara used the community mini grant to buy feminine products
and non-perishable food items. The non-perishable fod items were two different kinds of granola bars, gum, fruit snacks, applesauce pouches, and breakfast
bars. She was able to fill 216 quart-size bags. She filled six boxes with the feminine products as well and three other boxes with toiletries. She
was able to donate the snack bags, feminine products, and toiletries to three different places; Lewiston High School, Lapwai High School, and the ROC
Rescue Mission. As a result, Students at both the high schools were able to access the pantries there and grab whatever they needed. At the ROC Rescue
Mission adults and youth could access the pantry there. This project was so rewarding and a very humbling experience as well. Kiara plans on continuing
the Pack-a-Snack project throughout her life. If you are interested in carrying out a similar project, Kiara suggests asking the pantries if they need
certain items donated and to also get more feminine hygiene products. There was a huge need for them at the pantries.