Gen-I Network

Youth Advisory Board

Youth Advisory Board 

One of the ways in which CNAY fosters continued youth engagement is through its Youth Advisory Board. The Youth Advisory Board is made up of the five most recently recognized Champions for Change, along with alumni from previous classes. As board members, Champions for Change act in an advisory capacity to guide and maximize the impact of our organization. CNAY solicits the input of these youth board members on a variety of issues, according to each person's area of expertise and interest.

Brayden White
Noah Hotchkiss
Carin Young
Rory Taylor
Christie Wildcat
Sam Slater
Cierra Fields
Sarah Schilling
Keith Martinez Vanessa Goodthunder

Brayden White  founded Helping Hands, a peer education and mentoring program focused on drug, alcohol and suicide prevention. Through Helping Hands, Brayden teaches his tribal community how to recognize and respond to signs of suicide. He's working with tribal leaders and community mental health professionals to form a youth group of Crisis Mediators, who will serve as first responders to peers in need of immediate support. Brayden is also a youth lacrosse coach and leads a Native American student group at his college.



Carin Young  is a dedicated to raising awareness of sexual abuse and providing support for survivors. Carin created an annual event called “Breaking The Silence” that uses water balloons to promote healing, exchanges resources related to this issue and to builds support networks among Native Hawaiian families and communities.





 
Lauren McLester-DavisChristie Wildcat  founded the Wind River All-Action Crew, an inclusive youth group that transcends racial barriers and stereotypes through a lifelong-commitment to collaborative community service. Christie works with both Native and non-Native youth to serve Veterans, families in need, elders, and others in her community. Christie also took action to increase the representation of Native history and culture in her school, and is an accomplished artist.






Cierra Fields  is a high school student and two time melanoma survivor. She works with the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Program to promote healthy lifestyles across the Cherokee Nation of OK, with the goal of reducing the risk of cancer. Cierra has served as a member of NCAI's Youth Cabinet, a United Nations Youth Delegate, the District 3 Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Councilor, and a We R Native National Youth Ambassador. She sits on the Board of Directors for the National Urban Indian Youth Alliance and is passionate about the preservation of cultural arts, healthy living, and ending violence and sexual assault against Native women.


Keith Martinez PhotoKeith Martinez  is a college student at Villanova University who works with Lakota Children's Enrichment, Inc. (LCE) to fight against poverty and increase educational resources available on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Keith chairs LCE's Youth Advisory Board and is a Youth Ambassador with Youth Service America for the state of South Dakota. Keith works to raise awareness about LCE’s efforts and encourages his peers to obtain an education, mentor younger generations, and get involved in making a positive difference in their communities.


Noah Hotchkiss  is a high school student who secured funding from the Billy Mills Dreamstarter program to launch Tribal Adaptive Organization, which uses adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball camps and mono-skiing to address the needs and promote the strengths of Native Americans with disabilities. Noah sees sports as a tool to build independence and responsibility, and is a champion athlete himself. He's working to create a more disability-friendly future in Indian Country.

 

Rory Taylor  is a college student and the executive director of the Claremont College IndigeNATION Scholars program at Pomona College. Rory works with 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 nations.



Samuel Slater  leads a Navajo Nation Service Learning Trip for students at his high school in Washington, DC. In collaboration with his school, tribal government, and various agencies and individuals on the Navajo Reservation, Sam coordinates this annual two-week learning experience that teaches non-Native students about tribal history, innovation, sovereignty, government and culture through direct community service. Sam’s initiative is as an educational tool that seeks to enhance his peers’ understanding of Navajo culture through meaningful shared experiences.

Sarah Schilling  is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts
at Eastern Michigan University. She was recognized as a Champion in 2013 for developing her tribe's first youth council, which convened to discuss important issues like underage drinking, suicide prevention and more. Sarah’s work is broadly focused on health and her vision is for a healthier Indian Country and world. Sarah hopes to earn a Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and find creative methods of healing for indigenous communities.

 
Sarah Schilling PhotoVanessa Goodthunder  has dedicated her life to learning and teaching her languages. Vanessa works with a nonprofit organization called Dakota Wicohan (Dakota Way of Life) as both a youth participant and later, a language instructor supporting Dakota language curriculum development. As a Generation Indigenous Youth Ambassador, Vanessa started the Daunkotapi group, which connects youth from the four Dakota communities in Minnesota to talk about issues facing Native youth today, discuss solutions, and provide peer support. 
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