Gen-I Network

Champions for Change

Champions for Change

The Center for Native American Youth created the Champions for Change (CFC) program as a youth leadership initiative that highlights positive stories from Indian Country and develops young Native leaders through experience-based learning. In visits to tribal and urban Indian communities, CNAY listens to and learns from young Native Americans about youth priorities, challenges, and successes. We continue to hear from and about inspirational Native youth who are taking the lead in tackling community challenges and inspiring entire communities. The CFC program, inspired by a 2011 White House initiative, is a way to recognize and encourage those youth-led efforts! 

Read more to learn about the CFC program, the role of a Champion, and how Champions stay engaged with CNAY.  Check out the CFC Toolkit to start a Champions for Change program in your own community, or our CFC Two Pagers for quick information about each class. 


About the CFC Program : Each year, CNAY selects five inspirational Native youth (ages 14-22 years old) to join the CFC leadership network. Applicants who are not selected are recognized as CNAY Youth Ambassadors and are invited to stay engaged with CNAY’s work and the Gen-I Network.

What is a Champion? Champions are Native youth who initiate programs, events, or other efforts that are improving the lives of fellow youth in Indian Country. 

What is the role of a Champion?  Champions enter a close working relationship with CNAY that begins with a series of recognition events in Washington DC in the spring. This national recognition provides an initial platform for Champions to amplify their leadership stories and benefit from a variety of resources that enhance their advocacy skills. 

What happens after the event in DC?  Beyond national recognition events, Champions remain engaged with CNAY through a one-year term on CNAY’s Youth Advisory Board, and take advantage of ongoing opportunities to contribute to the national dialogue on critical issues affecting youth in Indian Country. 

For example, CNAY Youth Advisory Board Members: 
  • Participate in bi-monthly video conference meetings to stay engaged in CNAY’s work and build leadership skills;  
  • Serve as young community experts and are invited to provide their perspectives at and participate in conferences, webinars, meetings, and other speaking engagements; 
  • Lead by example by serving as a positive role model for their peers; and 
  • Act as a community liaison to share information about resources and youth opportunities with their communities and peers. 

Champions for Change Toolkit:  Interested in creating your own Champions for Change initiative in your community? The 2013 Champions developed a Champions for Change toolkit to encourage local tribal and urban Indian communities to recognize and celebrate Native youth leaders across the nation. Check it out and get started today!

Champions for Change Two Pagers: 
Check out our CFC Two-Pagers for quick information on each of the four classes of Champions for Change. 

2013 Champions for Change

2014 Champions for Change

2015 Champions for Change

2016 Champions for Change

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