College of Menominee Nation
P.O. Box 1179
Keshena , WI 54135
Phone: (715) 799-5600 ext 3085
Fax: (715) 799-1336
Title: College of Menominee Nation Youth Empowerment Program
Project Director: Donna Powless, Ph.D.
Project Amount Funded (FY 2006): $250,000
Target Population: American Indian Youth, Grades 6-8
The College of Menominee Nation Youth Empowerment Program focuses on academic enrichment, personal development (specifically health careers), career development, and cultural enrichment for 25 Native American Youth of the Menominee Reservation/County. Key program partners include the Woodland Boys & Girls Club, Menominee Recreation Center , Maehnowsekiyah Wellness Center , Menominee Tribal School District , and the Menominee Indian School District . Students take part in weekly, after school tutoring sessions led by College of Menominee Nation student interns who also serve as mentors. Academic enrichment is achieved through the use of a learning lab four hours each week where students receive an individualized curriculum and services based on academic level and needs, including tutoring in math, reading, and the sciences. Additional activities focus on improving and promoting study habits, teaching time management, library use, computer skills, bridge building, financial literacy, and the maintenance of a daily journal. Personal development activities include the SMART MOVES curriculum, an alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention program (AODA), as well as the STREET SMART curriculum (gang resistance program) offered by the Woodland Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, the Maehnowesekiyah youth wellness curriculum, a unique Menominee culture-focused program that addresses AODA, is a significant part of the program. Other developmental and wellness activities include the provision of nutrition and fitness education. Several cultural enrichment activities include harvesting medicinal plants, snow shoe assembly, harvesting maple sugar, and telling traditional stories. Each cultural event is infused with Menominee cultural tradition and language, and is led by a tribal elder. Students take part in a three-week summer program where they are exposed to a variety of speakers and field trips that revolve around the health care industry where students can learn about varying healthcare career opportunities. Parental involvement is an intricate part of the YEP program and students' parents are required to participate in Parents' Nights, where they meet and interact with program staff as well as learn about the varying opportunities in which their children are involved. Annual end-of-year awards ceremonies with parents and staff provide students with the opportunity to make presentations describing what they learned and what they liked most about the program.