Can you tell us some about Youth Development’s mission and goals?

The Mission of the Youth Development Program is to enhance tribal youth’s abilities to become thriving scholars, leaders and role models by actively engaging in the improvement of attendance and academics through proven educational and extracurricular activities. 

Our goals are to: 

a. Work cooperatively with area schools, local students and their families to support students in academics, attendance and behavior by implementing goal setting, incentives and providing mentoring and tutoring services

 b. Empower school districts with knowledge and resources to complement the WA State Since Time Immemorial curriculum

 c. Collaboration with social service programs and area schools to provide the necessary resources to our tribal youth

What are the largest challenges Youth Development is seeing with families and students?

Of course, the largest barrier since the pandemic started has been the lack of adequate technology for distance learning. However, the CBC did approve to purchase laptops and chrome books for additional support to our local schools and their families. Those devices have been recently inventoried and will be distributed soon. We are also seeing that a lack of engagement is another barrier for our students. Many of our students are learning an entirely new way to learn (entirely online and using new platforms to teach), which has been an added stress to our students.

What services does Youth Development provide and what increased services has the program included to help families during the pandemic?

Currently, we provide assistance to academic, attendance and behavior barriers. For example, our advocates focus on attendance and reducing those barriers that hinder acceptable attendance rates. Our mentors provide tutoring and mentoring to area youth. To remedy the need for additional tutoring, the CBC approved hiring 20 tutors (five in each district) to provide additional support for students.

How do people access services?

We have a referral form that can be filled out by anyone (teacher, principal, parent, case worker) and sent into one of the YDP staff. From there, an intake will be done and the appropriate tutor will assist.

What advice do you have for families through this time? 

My biggest piece of advice is keeping an open line of communication between students, their teachers and the schools is huge in getting students the resources they need to succeed during these difficult times. Also, YDP is here to help in any way that we can, so reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed. We’re available and happy to help!

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