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  • Curious. . .

    So, I am a Native teen originally from Utah and am involved with a lot of programs to help other troubled and/or non-troubled native teens/students. I've been part of this team called The Standing Tall Team. It involves 10 students from the same area that we are trying to help. The team was organized by a man named Howard Rainer, he's a Toas-Pueblo Indian. I don't know if you have heard or met him, but he's a really good public speaker. Our Mission is to get these teens to graduate high school.

    Well, as being part of this group or team, I am suppose to help keep these young ones out of gangs and off drugs. I've tried being their friend, mentor, counselor and many other things, but it's like I have not even gotten through to them. I was wondering, does anyone have any imput on what I could do to help them?

    I've meet with several students to see what they are interested in and so on. Some tell me that they want to be better and not want to be belittled by others or they want to make a difference with other people as well. These students that I have spoke with say that people (non-NDNZ) don't think that they can go anywhere, but the rez. That those people have no excpetation from them. So, these kids grow up thinking that that is the only place for them to go to and that is what they are.

    Now, I heard this from an 8th grader. I was kind of shocked, I didn't know what to say or how to approach that. I mean, I've never heard or been told that by anyone, nor have I ever gotten that impression from anyone. I've tried to convince them otherwise, but it seems that what these other people say are more important to them and they don't even push on. Some just drop out and give up.

    Does anyone out there know of a way or anything, to help me out here? When I go back this coming school year, I am starting over with a clean slate. I mean, these kids, everytime I meet with them, they act like we've never had any kind of talk about something like this before. I just don't know what to do anymore. The team and I are going to have a meeting and we are going to throw in all kinds of ideas, so any from you would help a lot. . .

  • #2
    You've taken the first step and thats more then most have probly done. These kids most likely and i'm only speculating-havent' been brought up in homes that expressed self esteem or confidence. They can't just embrace what you want because you 'want' them to. it's something they must learn on their own and believe in themselves first. Reinforcement is the key. Let them know you and the other volunteers won't back out on them and you believe in them. Let them know self pity is a no no. Give them something to believe in and stand tall and confident.
    Don't cha wish your girlfriend was HOT like me?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by oh^wise^woman
      You've taken the first step and thats more then most have probly done. These kids most likely and i'm only speculating-havent' been brought up in homes that expressed self esteem or confidence. They can't just embrace what you want because you 'want' them to. it's something they must learn on their own and believe in themselves first. Reinforcement is the key. Let them know you and the other volunteers won't back out on them and you believe in them. Let them know self pity is a no no. Give them something to believe in and stand tall and confident.
      Unfortunatly that's what I've been doing. I don't push it on them. I let them set their own goals or what they want to accomplish. I just tell them ways that they can get it done, if they want it bad. The problem is, when I ask in about 3 weeks, what they have done to achieve these, they say "I've been too busy." Or "I got involved with something else." And the something else and the whole being busy, is the gangs or drugs. I know these students. I grew up with half of them or they are related, and it's awful watching them throw their lives away because someone said they are only going to end up back on the rez. I try to tell them people who have accomplished a lot, you know, maybe a little push to show them that ending up on the rez isnt the answer. I think there is only one out there that I've talked with that has done something, but that's because I'm there to rag on her 24/7. (She's my little sister)

      Comment


      • #4
        Part of it also might be that they don't want to leave the rez. Don't make it seem like a negative to be on the rez, remember your family and culture is there as well as your friends and what's familiar... maybe emphasize that they can do more for their people by graduating and getting a higher education but kinda the way you are describing what you do, it almost sounds like your saying that their life is'nt good enough the way it is and that they should want to escape. Now I'm not saying that's your intention or even your line of thinking, but that's how it sounds to me when presented. And when presented that way, it's almost the same as those folks saying that they don't matter and won't amount to nothing but end back up on the rez... am I making any sense?
        Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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        • #5
          Sounds like you've made a valiant effort, thus far. Don't forget that what you're doing doesn't always get instant results. From what I can see you are planting seeds that will sometime down the road bear the fruit of your labors. Stay positive and as Howard would say, "Never give up!"

          One approach might be gathering a panel of successful Native role models in your area and have scripted questions for the students to pose in order to give the panel members an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by today's Native Youth. It's human nature for us to believe only after we see......"seeing is believing." Once these young adults have learned of the obstacles overcome by Native role models, they should be encouraged and motivated to do the same.

          Keep up the good work and may the creator bless you for your efforts.
          DANTS
          Junior Dancer
          Last edited by DANTS; 06-13-2006, 02:03 PM.
          "DANTS in beauty!"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Blackbear
            Part of it also might be that they don't want to leave the rez. Don't make it seem like a negative to be on the rez, remember your family and culture is there as well as your friends and what's familiar... maybe emphasize that they can do more for their people by graduating and getting a higher education but kinda the way you are describing what you do, it almost sounds like your saying that their life is'nt good enough the way it is and that they should want to escape. Now I'm not saying that's your intention or even your line of thinking, but that's how it sounds to me when presented. And when presented that way, it's almost the same as those folks saying that they don't matter and won't amount to nothing but end back up on the rez... am I making any sense?
            Well, the thing is we are in the city. They only go to the rez like once evey few months. I guess you're right, I mean I don't come off like that in person or anything. It's not that their lives aren't good, it's just that they think that's as far as they can get, but they want more. And they dont even try. They have goals and such in mind, but it's like they think it's too big for them or something. Like they are only dreams and can't get to it. I don't understand. It's just too hard. Some try to get me to give up on them, they would purposely go out and get into trouble to get rid of me. I told them the more they try, the more I was going to be there so they know that I wont give up because when I had first talked with them, that's what they said, "It's like everyone gives up on me." I just find it so sad, I try to help, but I guess it's more like pushing. . .I guess next year I will lay off, just a little bit more. . .

            Comment


            • #7
              I might come across a little harsh here. but i'm just beini honest. I've read your posts here ashalee and from the way i'm reading it sounds like your making excuses for these kids. for example 'well the thing is live in the city' - 'unfortunately that's what I'm doing'. i've worked in the inner city programs to and volunteered and continue to do so and felt your same frustration. but if you reach 1 kid thats more than 1 that can aspire to anything he or she wants to be and believe in him or herself. the last thing you need to do is get all caught up in the ones who aren't and consentrate on those that do! good job though to bad there aren't more teens like you.
              Don't cha wish your girlfriend was HOT like me?

              Comment


              • #8
                Ashlalee,

                I want to commend you for your compassion to help your fellow Native peers graduate.

                You have an excellent mentor in Howard Ranier. He has many years of experience. Have you talked to him one-on-one with your concerns? He always seems to have good advice in these types of situations.

                Stick in there girl. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither are new habits and ways of life.



                "If you can at least reach the leader, the others will follow."
                Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with DANTS, maybe bringin in some good role models could help. But also I think it would help if you brought in someone who has made the wrong choices in life to the point where it's affected their daily life, and perhaps has changed their life around. You know, someone these kids can relate to and has had the same struggles as them. I admire you for what you're doin and you are doin good and all, but maybe these kids can't relate to you and that's why you can't get through to them. My brother was involved in gangs since he was very young and became very well known in our city. When he turned his life around, he began speaking at schools and anti-gang conferences. I know he affected alot of people, even in his death. Alot of people then decided to "drop their flags".

                  These kids I'm sure have been told what good will come by making the right choices, but have they been spoken to about what could happen if they don't? They should learn the consequences for the bad choices they are or might be makin. They don't wanna end up on welfare cuz they can't find a good job because they didn't finish high school. These kids don't know what they haven't lived, so maybe someone who has can give them a reality check.

                  But do keep givin them props for what they have done and encourage them to keep it up. Tell them what a waste it would be to quit school after going almost all their lives. What would it all have been for if they weren't gonna finish? And don't give up on them, cuz they are worth your time and help and hopefully they will realize that.

                  :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat :moon: :heartbeat
                  www.myspace.com/ndnmama

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ndnmama80
                    I agree with DANTS, maybe bringin in some good role models could help. But also I think it would help if you brought in someone who has made the wrong choices in life to the point where it's affected their daily life, and perhaps has changed their life around. You know, someone these kids can relate to and has had the same struggles as them. I admire you for what you're doin and you are doin good and all, but maybe these kids can't relate to you and that's why you can't get through to them. My brother was involved in gangs since he was very young and became very well known in our city. When he turned his life around, he began speaking at schools and anti-gang conferences. I know he affected alot of people, even in his death. Alot of people then decided to "drop their flags".

                    These kids I'm sure have been told what good will come by making the right choices, but have they been spoken to about what could happen if they don't? They should learn the consequences for the bad choices they are or might be makin. They don't wanna end up on welfare cuz they can't find a good job because they didn't finish high school. These kids don't know what they haven't lived, so maybe someone who has can give them a reality check.

                    But do keep givin them props for what they have done and encourage them to keep it up. Tell them what a waste it would be to quit school after going almost all their lives. What would it all have been for if they weren't gonna finish? And don't give up on them, cuz they are worth your time and help and hopefully they will realize that.




                    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ndnmama80
                      I agree with DANTS, maybe bringin in some good role models could help. But also I think it would help if you brought in someone who has made the wrong choices in life to the point where it's affected their daily life, and perhaps has changed their life around. You know, someone these kids can relate to and has had the same struggles as them. I admire you for what you're doin and you are doin good and all, but maybe these kids can't relate to you and that's why you can't get through to them. My brother was involved in gangs since he was very young and became very well known in our city. When he turned his life around, he began speaking at schools and anti-gang conferences. I know he affected alot of people, even in his death. Alot of people then decided to "drop their flags".

                      Outstanding!!!!! My son thought drugs were the answer, he just didn't know what they were the answer to until it was too late. Even therapy and rehab didn't do the job. It took prison to change his mind about his path in life. By that time, it was too late. They also need to know that this not only effects them, it touches everyone that loves them and it's not a pretty picture. Good luck!!
                      These kids I'm sure have been told what good will come by making the right choices, but have they been spoken to about what could happen if they don't? They should learn the consequences for the bad choices they are or might be makin. They don't wanna end up on welfare cuz they can't find a good job because they didn't finish high school. These kids don't know what they haven't lived, so maybe someone who has can give them a reality check.

                      But do keep givin them props for what they have done and encourage them to keep it up. Tell them what a waste it would be to quit school after going almost all their lives. What would it all have been for if they weren't gonna finish? And don't give up on them, cuz they are worth your time and help and hopefully they will realize that.
                      "I cannot think that we are useless or God would not have created us.
                      There is one God looking down on us all. We are all the children of one God. The sun,
                      the darkness, the winds are all listening to what we have to say." **Geronimo







                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I thank all who have given me their input! I really am happy about it all.

                        As for the ones that know Howard, he's great, isn't? I would talk with him about it, but he is always out of town. Everytime I call him he has something already and is booked for something else. He knows it's important and all, but then again, he's going out to do what I just came back from doing.

                        Don't worry about being harsh. I mean, I posted this knowing that it wouldn't all be frosting. I mean, I've gotten use to being told harsh things, and I don't let it get me down. I use it to my advantage and push forward keeping that in mind so I can improve on it.

                        Having people come in and do the questioning isn't that easy. We can't find people who will do it for free or who has time. I don't know if they think it's important or not, but most say they have work or an appointment, so unfortunatly the team has given up on that part.

                        Well, the way this team was set up was the students got to know all of us. If they didnt connect with one of us, then that was ok, I mean there is 9 others to go through. But the ones that come to me, I don't know why? I mean I know they have their reasons and all, but if they aren't going to atleast let me help them, then I don't know what to do? I worry about them sometime.

                        I don't just focus on the ones that are not doing good. I admit that I will look more towards them then the others, but I do pay attention to the ones who have succeed. It feels good to know that I helped someone, even if it was just being a person for them to hang out with or something small like that. I really like doing this program. I have Howard to thank. If that guy didn't bug me into speaking out then I would probably be at the other end, isnt that funny?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It feels good to know that I helped someone, even if it was just being a person for them to hang out with or something small like that.
                          Hey sometimes that's all someone needs! Who knows what their day was like or how lonely they might have felt... Folks need to do this more with our elderly as well.

                          You don't have to lay off more... just don't come across as what they are is'nt good enough. It's too easy to believe you are crap all by yourself without someone inadverntently telling you that you are... and I KNOW that's not what you are trying to do. You got the right idea though.. they are beautiful as they are , but they could be more if they wanted to give it a try. And teaching by example (the way you go out and try to reach out and show you care) goes alot further than you know. So don't be discouraged. You're caring makes a difference.
                          Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            theres no "I" om team

                            Boozhoo niji,

                            Ok so that is kinda a lame subject, but I could not think of anything better for this thread, lol.

                            I am not the expert in this field, I have only had experiences and talked with a bunch of people, and made a bunch of observations, so if want I have to share with you helps you out in any way, then go for it!

                            You said that most of these kids are into gangs and drugs. Before you can try to do what is right you have to fix what is wrong. What are the reasons for doing these negative activities?

                            Most of the time, with gangs, its cause they want to belong to something, to fill up a hole in their lives somewhere. If Mom and Dad are not suitable role models, then who are they to look up to? Most of the time its friends, or siblings. Humans of any race, require a certain amount of social activity, its almost as important as eating, to go out and hang out with your friends, and socialize. At school, gangs probably dominate the scene, and the question most asked to newcomers is probably, "Are you with them or with us?" Gangs compete for turf, more than likely control of who sells drugs where.

                            Drugs are what they turn to when their is nothing else to turn to, most of the time because that first time is for free, then addiction sets in real quick. Its either that, or if they do find what they are looking for in a gang, then they push the drugs for money, so now we have another problem, greed.

                            So now you gotta look at what you have to work with. I have no idea if you have any kind of budget, or ages and numbers of kids (I really skimmed through the last few posts, read the first ones tho). But what you do have, is a number of kids. Can this of in istelf be called a gang? The purpose of gangs is to control turn, sell drugs, and fill that ever so present hole of lack of socialization.

                            I guess if I were in your shoes, first thing I would do is just listen to them sitting in a room someplace (if thats safe). I mean dont talk to them, but put them all in a room. Sooner or later, someone is gonna start talking. Listen to everything they say, needs will sooner or later come up. You can get ideas right from this starting point.

                            Figure out if there is any kind of common interst, other than drugs or gangbanging. If that is all that they do talk about, then talk about it, but slip in the negative stuff. "Oh yeah, I knew this one kid that killed such and such, but he got twenty years! I mean by the time he gets outta prison, if he even lives that long, well aint no girl gonna want him"

                            Whatever the common interest is, that is what will bind them together. I dunno how good key speakers would work, getting through to teens is pretty hard, you gotta keep their interest, and thats hard. I know I used to be a teen. The negative speakers would work, the ones that ruined their lives because of drugs or whatnot. We had a coupld of guys come into my 5th grade class and started talking about bad trips, and that was all the info I needed to stay off drugs.

                            I will recommend a movie to you, if you can find it, it is fromthe 80s, I think it is called, A Band of the Hand. It is about a program, where they take a bunch of juvenille delinquits, and throw them into the everglades, force them to work together just to survive. It is fiction as far as I know, and the story is extreme, but it is a very very good movie.

                            If all else fails, take the kids out, and literally force them to work together to survive. Like I said, I dont know what your resources are, you might have to get creative, but the main thing it getting them to work together.

                            If they say that they dont have time because of their other activities, well then say that they are not important enough for you to bother with. Life is about sacrafices, if they want the good things out of life then they are gonna have to make sacrifices to get them. That may backfire on you in the long run, and remember that you will not be able to save them all. The saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you cant make him drink. People a lot of times have their mind made up about something, and nothing you can do or say will change it, so accept that you might loose one or two.

                            And finally, my personal little pep talk for you, and this is one of my favorite mottos, if you can change the life, of just one child, by keeping them off drugs our outta gangs, keeping them straight and sober, then you have made one of the biggest diferences that anyone can make in the whole world. That is something that not a lot of people can brag about either.

                            Derek
                            I believe in something I want to believe, not what someone wants me to believe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ashlalee_tsoh
                              So, I am a Native teen originally from Utah and am involved with a lot of programs to help other troubled and/or non-troubled native teens/students. I've been part of this team called The Standing Tall Team. It involves 10 students from the same area that we are trying to help. The team was organized by a man named Howard Rainer, he's a Toas-Pueblo Indian. I don't know if you have heard or met him, but he's a really good public speaker. Our Mission is to get these teens to graduate high school.

                              Well, as being part of this group or team, I am suppose to help keep these young ones out of gangs and off drugs. I've tried being their friend, mentor, counselor and many other things, but it's like I have not even gotten through to them. I was wondering, does anyone have any imput on what I could do to help them?

                              I've meet with several students to see what they are interested in and so on. Some tell me that they want to be better and not want to be belittled by others or they want to make a difference with other people as well. These students that I have spoke with say that people (non-NDNZ) don't think that they can go anywhere, but the rez. That those people have no excpetation from them. So, these kids grow up thinking that that is the only place for them to go to and that is what they are.

                              Now, I heard this from an 8th grader. I was kind of shocked, I didn't know what to say or how to approach that. I mean, I've never heard or been told that by anyone, nor have I ever gotten that impression from anyone. I've tried to convince them otherwise, but it seems that what these other people say are more important to them and they don't even push on. Some just drop out and give up.

                              Does anyone out there know of a way or anything, to help me out here? When I go back this coming school year, I am starting over with a clean slate. I mean, these kids, everytime I meet with them, they act like we've never had any kind of talk about something like this before. I just don't know what to do anymore. The team and I are going to have a meeting and we are going to throw in all kinds of ideas, so any from you would help a lot. . .
                              Ashlalee, you are a Champion! Keep up your good work and do not let doubt hold you back.

                              It is more the youth that are neither traditional or Christian that are falling into these problems. They do not have the direction that these two groups have. Some of the pitfalls or social traps are hiphop, goth, gangster, sk8boarding and other similar subcultures that are actually social deadends. The need to belong is so strong, that most young people will gravitate to one group or another.

                              Those growing up in Traditional or Christian homes have direction, guidance, and are developing a strong sense of right and wrong. They have hobbies or skills in which they can express themselves. What I see among these other troubled youth is they join whatever group they feel will accept them, they adopt their music and dress, and take on largely anti-social behavior as is consistent with that particular group. It can take years before the young people look around and realize that eventually the members of that group have grown up and out of those sub cultures and have finally gotten on with their lives.

                              The sad part of this is that too many young people get caught into these sub cultures at the most important formative years of their lives when they need good grades and good educational tools to get into college and make something meaningful of their lives. They get caught into these sub cultures that keep them from going anywhere meaningful and they think people who try to suggest that they do otherwise just don't understand them and don't accept them.

                              They are compromised with drinking and drugs and music that depresses them even further. They become increasingly antisocial and don't see that it is their choices that are hurting them. They blame society, adults, government, religion, anything but their own choice.

                              Ashlalee, you are showing them that there are choices. It would be nice if all ten would listen and immediately follow all your suggestions, but in time, some will realize that you have made some sense and will try to do as you have counseled. They know what doesn't work and some will want to try something that will. They see the example you set. You're positive, you're successful, you're focused and some will want to be like you. Don't apologize for that, realize that you may be the ladder that allows them to step higher.

                              I wish more young adults would get involved as you have. You are setting an example for adults as well as younger people. God Bless you!
                              Ya'at'eeh! Walk with Beauty, Live with Pride!

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