Colville tribal member Amelia McCuen, 8, has set aside her summer to help homeless tribal members.

NESPELEM –  It hasn't been long since summer began and for most kids everyday seems to be a never ending vacation. However Amelia McCuen, a very generous 8 year old young lady, has devoted her time, energy and thoughts this summer to her people.

When watching KHQ News with her mom, Alice Marchand, Amelia noticed the footage of the homeless population in Spokane. She discussed the issue with her mom and talked about ways they could help after finding out that the issue was not only located in Spokane but in Nespelem as well. Amelia decided to start a fundraiser for our local homeless tribal members. 

That decision has launched the young tribal member on a mission.

In hope of spreading awareness Amelia gave many speeches, one of them being in front of the  Northwest Intertribal Agricultural Council Native Youth Food Sovereignty Summit that took place, July 8.

“My girl is not shy and did get up and tell the summit about her project. She got $45 donations from some of the members,” said Alice.

“I seen homeless people on the streets in Spokane...I didn't like it,” said Amelia. “They don't get the same treatment and it's not fair they are poor.” 

Amelia also opened a bake sale, and she raised $65.95 on her very first day! In the end she accumulated $300 from her bake sale fundraiser.

She also received a generous donation of 15 new backpacks from tribal member Del Ostenberg.

With the help of her bake sells and donations she was able to fill the backpacks with various essentials, such as t-shirts, underwear, socks, sunblock, shampoos, hand sanitizer, granola bars, reusable water bottles and more.

Amelia will personally hand out these items herself today, but she isn't going to stop there. 

Amelia says she is holding another fundraiser this Christmas for the holiday. She also wishes to venture outside Nespelem and help our people all over the reservation. 

Those who helped Amelia with her goal are Melba Smith who baked pies, Joe Marchand who bought all the ingredients, Chris McCuen, her father, for letting her present at the Summit, Ostenberg for the backpacks, Bunnee Grunlose for transportation and Alice Marchand for supporting her daughter through this new and important experience.

“I am beyond proud of my daughter and hope she continues on this path of helping her people,” said Alice.

NOTE: Journalist Mirella Lopez is a Colville Tribal Summer Youth Employee working with the Tribal Tribune. 

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