UNITY Peer Guides – UNITY, Inc.

Returning Home: Siletz Tribal Youth Development Program

Read the Original Article on the OJJDP Tribal Youth Resource Center’s Blog

This summer our Youth Development and Healthy Traditions Program chaperoned a group of Siletz youth on a four-day adventure down to Southern Oregon. Our first destination was a land-restoration conservation site called Vesper Meadows located east of Ashland in the higher elevations of the Southern Cascade Mountains. This was a special place to visit for several reasons: (1) We were restoring our indigenous relationship with a land that we hadn’t gathered on in for over 150 years and (2) We were connecting our youth with one of our most well-spoken and travelled tribal elders, Grandma Aggie Pilgrim. Our second destination was to gather yampah seeds at a meadow near the base of Table Rock, which was the site of our original reservation and where we signed the Rogue River Treaty was signed. Read More

Peer Guide visionary to Co-Chair Seminole Trauma-Focused Symposium

UNITY Peer Guide Cheyenne Kippenberger, 23, of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, has partnered with the Native Learning Center to host its Healing the Circle in Our Tribal Communities Symposium in Hollywood, Florida. The focus of the symposium is to bring awareness to the importance of safe and healthy environments for our Native people. According to Kippenberger the symposium will help bring awareness to the issues of domestic violence, self-care, elder abuse awareness and how to address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The Peer Guide hopes that along with the Native Learning Center they will be able to  provide advocates cutting edge content on women’s empowerment along with tools for positive healthy relationships. 

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UNITY leaders attend Native Youth Design Lab

UNITY Peer Guide Cheyenne Kippenberger and UNITY National UNITY Council (NUC) Female Co-President Brittany McKane attended a Native Youth Design Lab in Pawhuska, OK, for a campaign involving narrative change surrounding Native peoples. The Design Lab was hosted by Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) and IllumiNative, as well as Ryan Redcorn with Buffalo Nickel Creative Studios. The UNITY youth leaders spent two days collaborating and exchanging ideas to spark change for positive representation for Indigenous people. Read More

California Peer Guide comes Full Circle with Jr. Indigenous Games

“Being able to come full circle in an event like this is so exciting, as a younger youth I participated in the annual Ingenious Games and now I got to help make this day possible for the youth of my community” said UNITY Peer Guide Leticia Lucille Gonzales, “It makes me proud that they are still as excited about the event as I used to be.”   As a Peer Guide ambassador Gonzales often assists with local drug and alcohol free activities for youth. The annual “Jr. Indigenous Games” in the Community of Bishop, CA, was their creative take on Alaskan Games engaging Native youth in wellness as cultural prevention.  Read More

Healing Indigenous Lives with Pueblo of Pojoaque Youth

UNITY Peer Guide Santana Bartholomew shares upon her experiences working with her Native youth as a Pueblo of Pojoaque Youth Path to Wellness Coordinator: “Spending time with the youth in my community and witnessing the internal growth that takes place is the most rewarding part of my job. To see young tribal members develop leadership skills and a love of helping others in their community is not only a result of my dedication, but it is also a glimpse of who these youth truly are, the things they value, cherish, wish to protect, and most importantly, who they will become in the future.  Read More

Getting To Know Kara McDonagh, OJJDP Program Specialist

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides support for UNITY’s Peer Guide Program through a cooperative agreement. This article was written by our partners at Tribal Youth Resource Center.

The Tribal Youth Resource Center (TYRC) team took a few minutes to ask OJJDP Program Specialist Kara McDonagh a few “get to know you” questions. We learned more about her work as an OJJDP program specialist and about her passion and dedication to Tribal youth programs.

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UNITY Advisory Cohort empowers Native youth voice

Get to know the newest UNITY Peer Guide Cohort and learn more about their passion for advocating for “non-traditional” Native youth leadership. UNITY has recruited this diverse group of youth mentors, to design and facilitate six regional trainings across the nation. These trainings will empower Native youth to speak out about critical aspects of juvenile justice and delinquency prevention efforts within their home communities.

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UNITY names leadership team to support National Leadership Initiative

UNITY, Inc. has named two individuals with extensive experience in Indian country to spearhead the national Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative in partnership with the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).  The cooperative agreement provides funding to engage Native American youth and youth serving programs in a national initiative that builds on the successes of the past efforts and the Today’s Native Leaders program. Over the next two years, the initiative will hold six regional trainings to gather Native youth feedback on how best to support and enhance Native youth engagement, coordination, and action related to cultural prevention, with a focus on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention in Indian country.

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Announcing UNITY’s New Peer Guides Cohort

Congratulations to a new class of UNITY youth leaders! Twelve young people have been named to UNITY’s OJJDP Peer Guide program, which builds on the successes of the past Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) National Intertribal Youth Leadership efforts and the Today’s Native Leaders program. The three-year initiative will support and enhance Native youth engagement, coordination, and action related to community support systems, cultural approaches to restorative justice, with a focus on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention in Indian country. UNITY looks forward to working with this diverse group of youth leaders and mentors, who will design and facilitate intensive trainings aimed to reach at risk Native youth throughout the country.

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