Monument Valley youth councils shine at Utah conference
In front of dozens of high school educators and parents, members of three UNITY affiliated youth councils in Monument Valley proudly shared the impact their community service projects are making in their communities. UNITY clubs at Monument Valley High School, San Juan High School and Whitehorse High School recently shared their experiences during a workshop at the 25th Annual Heritage Language conference hosted by the San Juan School District in Monument Valley, Utah.
To address alarming suicide statistics in Utah, the Whitehorse High School youth council developed a Hope Squad, made up of youth peer leaders, who engaged in peer-to-peer sharing during Hope Week at their high school. The Hope Squad also sponsored a 5K Walk/Run to bring awareness to the issue.
The Monument Valley UNITY Council partnered with various agencies to host a UNITY for Prevention Conference to address youth issues such as bullying, teen pregnancy, suicide, sexual abuse and substance abuse. The conference was inclusive of cultural performances, faith based led activities, a fun walk/run and comedy show. All three high schools created UNITY clubs thanks to a grant from the Office of Indian Education. The UNITY clubs focus on developing leadership and service opportunities for youth in the local communities.
UNITY’s Executive Director Mary Kim Titla served as a keynote speaker at the conference. She spoke about how UNITY impacted her life and statistics involving Native youth. During her presentation, she invited several young people to introduce themselves and share the spotlight. She also conducted a workshop to explain UNITY’s mission and its youth programming available to all Native youth.
“I’m so impressed with how driven the Native youth are in the San Juan School District. They’re passionate about issues that affect them and they’ve come up with creative way to address those issues. They care deeply about their peers and their communities. Their presentations blessed me,” said Titla.