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Salish Kootenai College - Youth Empowerment Program FY 2006-2008 Grantee

The goal of the Choice and Options Program is to provide inspiration and hope to 30 Native American Youth on the Flathead Reservation by connecting them to healthy role models and stimulating their interests in a variety of activities that do not involve the use of drugs and alcohol.

Salish Kootenai College
PO BOX 70
Pablo , MT 59855
Phone: (406) 275-4896
Fax: (406) 275-4801
E-mail: bill_swaney@skc.edu

Title: Choices and Options Program
Project Director: Bill Swaney
Project Amount Funded (FY 2006): $246,119
Target Population: American Indian Youth, Grades 6-8

The goal of the Choice and Options Program is to provide inspiration and hope to 30 Native American Youth on the Flathead Reservation by connecting them to healthy role models and stimulating their interests in a variety of activities that do not involve the use of drugs and alcohol. The youth in the program take part in culturally focused activities and career exploration to challenge their minds while igniting their imagination. Participants are selected from local middle schools: Two Eagle River School , Ronan Middle School , and Polson Middle School . The success of the program is greatly dependent on a level of trust and understanding between program staff and participants, therefore, students play a significant role in determining activities and events throughout the year. Academic enrichment activities are supported by weekly tutoring sessions led by tutors who are undergraduate students at the college and who have received training in the areas of mentorship and group leadership. Each participant works with his/her tutor to develop an individual plan that sets academic and individual benchmarks. Personal development revolves around practicing appropriate behavior during activities such as social nights, Annual Fun Run, and a community service event that the students select. Cultural enrichment activities are geared towards teaching and expanding awareness. Participants take part in six or more cultural activities throughout the year which include a trip to pick bitterroot, and spending time with tribal elders visiting important historic areas on the reservation. A combination of job shadowing, site visits, and speakers are used to promote career awareness. In addition, participants take part in a yearly job-shadowing day and develop Career Planning Portfolios which they use to gather information and record their ideas about the future. As part of the summer program, participants spend two weeks at the Blue Bay Camp Facility on Flathead Lake and a third week in conjunction with the Annual Sobriety Camp Out. Students have the opportunity to participate in mini-Olympics, swimming, hiking, music and literature projects, and are exposed to a series of sessions that provide insight on health, career options, self-esteem, culture, history and academic success. Parents communicate regularly with the prevention specialist, and are encouraged to attend short evening training on communication, academic issues facing their children and the planning of the year ahead, as well as quarterly Family Night events.

Click here for a listing of all FY 2006-2008 grantees



Content Last Modified: 1/25/2007 1:27:00 PM
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