UNITY’s Wellness Warriors Manager, LorenAshley Buford, was one of four facilitators at the Phoenix Indian Center’s GONA (Gathering of Native Americans) community event on September 9, 2017. GONA is a culture-based planning process where community members gather to address community-identified issues. It uses an interactive approach that empowers and supports tribes and Native youth.
The GONA approach reflects cultural values, traditions, and spiritual practices from inter-tribal representation. The UNITY Wellness Warriors and the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) GONA curriculum share the same guiding principals; cultural wellness teachings are prevention for our Native community health needs. Both focus on acknowledging the effects of historical trauma, honoring cultural values, and developing a vision of success for Native youth. The UNITY Wellness Warriors smartphone mobile app is an excellent follow-up tool to help plan your community service event that participants outline in their GONA Action Plan.
Many of UNITY’s community partners and tribes use the GONA curriculum in their wellness and prevention efforts. Thi
s GONA event was hosted by the Phoenix Indian Center’s Urban Indian Coalition of Arizona (UICAZ) for the Maricopa County community. UNITY was happy to partner with UICAZ, whose “number one goal is to support our youth and assist them in making healthy choices that will prevent them from drinking while underage and educating them about the dangers of prescription drugs and marijuana abuse and to create awareness about suicide.” The GONA event is a perfect example of community-based cultural prevention efforts. Theda New Breast, M.P.H. is the co-founder and co-writer of the SAMHSA GONA curriculum, which is one of the Ten Effective Practices and Models in Communities of Color. Theda is also a founding board member and master trainer/ facilitator for the Native Wellness Institute (NWI). UNITY is a proud community partner with NWI and UICAZ. We look forward to further strengthening our mutual goals of wellness for our native youth through the GONA curriculum.
Interested in having UNITY Wellness Warriors present at your upcoming GONA? Contact LorenAshley Buford at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Please visit the Tribal TTA Center’s website to access past webinar recordings pertaining to the GONA and other helpful resources at http://www.samhsa.gov/tribal-ttac/resources/webinars.