OVCDC Invites TNL to Bakersfield
The following story was provided by Cielo Garcia, Lakota Sicangu (Rosebud Sioux) of Riverside, California.
Owens Valley Career Development Center (OVCDC) brought UNITY’s Today’s Native Leaders (TNL) out to Bakersfield, CA January 9-11, 2015 to work with various youth from Tribal T.A.N.F. programs in central California. At this training, there were youth ranging from ages 12-19. These youth got the opportunity to make their voices heard and discuss challenges within their own communities. T.N.L. taught a curriculum that showed these young people how to plan and create a community project.
Trainer Jeri Brunoe, and TNL employees, Lynnann Yazzie and Wendy Weston conducted the training, as well as me, Cielo Garcia, the 2013-2014 Pacific Region Representative of the National UNITY Council Executive Committee. I helped lead the youth leadership portion and aided in overseeing the youth creating their projects, giving feedback through my own personal experiences.
This was an amazing experience, being able to witness many young leaders coming together and creating projects to take back and implement within their communities to overcome those challenges that they are passionate and feel strongly about. Seeing the fire that many youth carried inside of them prior to the training had me in admiration and awe. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction being able to see the change and growth that these youth went through within a weekend. Those who came in without any motivation, left with a spark that could easily turn into a wildfire, all they needed was a little push and to have their eyes opened to all the change that can happen because of them. It is often said, that we native youth are the leaders of tomorrow, but that is false. We are, in fact, the leaders of today and that is what T.N.L. tries to teach the youth.
Potential, motivation, passion, determination, a fire to create change, flaming big and bright, are all things that I witnessed during this training. These youth are creating change in their communities, Are you?