UNITY Announces New “Wellness Warriors Project” Team
UNITY implements new program funded by W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grant
UNITY has announced the hiring of LorenAshley Buford, as Project Manager, and Joshua Tso, as Project Coordinator, to oversee its newest program, the UNITY Wellness Warriors Project. Funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation over a three-year period (2016-2019), the new program aims to increase the awareness of the need for and benefits of adopting a lifestyle that incorporates a culturally-relevant and measurable personal wellness plan that will lead to transformational change among Native American and Alaskan Native youth, while positively impacting their communities.
“Both LorenAshley and Josh bring a wealth of expertise and knowledge in Native youth advocacy, working for and on behalf of our youth across the country,” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY, Inc. “We look forward to their leadership with our newest youth program at UNITY,” added Titla.
LorenAshely Buford, Oklevueha Band of Yamassee Seminoles of Florida, will oversee the program as its Project Manager. LorenAshley is the current Principal Chief of her tribe and continues to be active in her state-recognized home community while working abroad. LorenAshley is a graduate of Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies and an emphasis in Federal Indian law and historical trauma. She has been a passionate advocate for prevention work focusing on the awareness of HIV/AIDs, prescription drug abuse, youth marijuana use, underage drinking and suicide among indigenous youth. Cultural awareness, traditional wellness teachings, youth empowerment and tribal community organizing are LorenAshley’s driving force.
Joshua “Josh” Tso, Navajo, has been involved with the UNITY organization as a former National UNITY Council Co-President, youth council advisor, and as a consultant on UNITY’s Fitness 40 App development. A college athlete, competing in cross-country and track and field, Josh graduated from Arizona State University in Exercise Science and Wellness. He has a passion for helping the Native American community, as much as he has enjoys his hobbies and activities including running, hiking, golf, and basketball.
In his new role at UNITY as Project Coordinator, Josh will assist LorenAshley in developing a national campaign that involves UNITY’s 160 affiliated youth councils to create and carry out youth-led wellness community service projects. Through the program, they will also encourage youth councils to create physical activities that involve cultural history and language as a means of preserving and honoring heritage.