Champions for Change

Recognizing Native youth who inspire one another to make a positive impact in their communities


The Champions for Change (CFC) program is a Native youth leadership initiative designed to highlight positive stories of impact from Indian Country. The program, inspired by a 2011 White House initiative, develops young Native leaders through experience-based learning and tailored advocacy training.

About the Program

Each year, CNAY selects five inspirational Native youth, ages 14-24 from across the United States to be Champions for Change. All applicants, regardless of acceptance, are named Gen-I Ambassadors and stay engaged with CNAY and the Gen-I Network. Champions are young leaders who have a desire to better their communities. This can be done in schools or programs, on reservations or in urban environments; anywhere there is opportunity to create positive impact.

What is the Role of a Champion?

Champions enter a close year-long working relationship with CNAY that begins in the spring with a series of recognition events in Washington, DC. 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. Throughout their term as a Champion, they will receive support, resources, and opportunities to represent themselves and CNAY at various events.

Champions for Change 2023

Please view the “Meet the Champions” tab to read bios of the 2023 Champions for Change class.

Champions for Change 2024

Applications for the 2024 class will be available late Fall! Sign up for our newsletter for updates.

Application Requirements:

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.

CNAY Youth Advisory Board Members:

For more information please refer to the FAQ page or contact

Listen and learn of previous Champions’ experiences via the video below!