CNAY is thrilled to announce our third class of Champions for Change! These five inspiring Native leaders are working diligently to create positive change within their tribal and urban Indian communities. The new class will join 2014 Champions on the CNAY's Youth Advisory Board to build and inform our work at a national level.
Click below to learn about each Champion's youth-led effort to affect change in Indian Country.
Jazmyn Espinoza,Stockbridge Munsee Band of Mohican
Hometown: Bowler, WI
Jazmyn is a high school senior empowering her peers through creation of a mentoring initiative called, “The Warrior Circle Project.” She creates a safe space at the community center for youth to discuss challenges, suicide prevention, bullying, health and wellness, and to work together to offer advice and guidance to foster hope.
"Not only we as Natives, but we as PEOPLE, need to start investing in youth to combat the hardships they face! These challenges have gone on for far too long and we can be the generation to stand up and make change."
Hamilton Seymour,Nooksack Indian Tribe
Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Hamilton is a high school sophomore working to advance culture and promote healthy lifestyles through traditional
sports. After losing his father to suicide, he became an avid Native War Canoe racer and organizes his peers to for a youth canoe racing team. By engaging other youth, Hamilton believes canoe racing has the power to promote health, prevent suicide and substance abuse, and address grief and heal.
"An athlete must be strong physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. This is why I have chosen war canoe racing, a traditional sport to promote health and mental wellness. The initiative not only brings life back to a traditional and endangered sport of war canoe racing but to honor our elders and bring back the teachings and practices of our schlengen -- our way of life."
Rory is a college freshman and the executive director of the Claremont College IndigeNATION Scholars program through Pomona College. He coordinates his college peers to facilitate teaching sessions at local high schools that focus on college readiness, cultural education, and helping Native students connect with their tribal nation and family.
"We need to be sensitive and open to challenges that students face across Indian Country in everything we do. Every Native student can grow successfully with a rewiring of our curricula, more appropriate standards, and increasing individualized attention in education systems."
Tatiana Ticknor,Yup'ik, Tlingit, Dena'ina
Hometown: Anchorage, AK
Tatiana Ticknor is a high school sophomore and serves as a “Community Doer” for First Alaskans Institute. In this position, Tatiana engages and motivates her peers to get involved in community action, promotes culture and language preservation, and identifies opportunities to incorporate elder participation in community activities.
"Native Youth should be confident of their identity. I want to help knock out stereotypes. These outcomes need to and will change in my community, even if it takes years."
Carin Young, Native Hawaiian
Hometown: Ewa Beach, HI
Carin Young is a college senior and is dedicated to raising awareness of and providing support for survivors of sexual abuse. She created an annual event called, “Breaking The Silence” to promote healing, exchange resources and build support networks among Native Hawaiian families and communities.
"Through movements like (Break the Silence)… we can empower youths to heal from the physical and emotional wounds of sexual abuse and rehabilitate our Native communities to a state of resilience. With something as simple as a water balloon, we can rehabilitate, educate, and inspire cultural change."
The Center for Native American Youth
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