25 Under 25 Vonica LaPlante Awarded MHA Champions of Change
UNITY 25 Under 25 Honoree Vonica LaPlante, 17 of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, awarded a MHS Champions for Change! Vonica was also accompanied by former UNITY Executive Committee Northeast Representative and former UNITY 25 Under 25 honoree Brayden White, to accept this prestigious award.
“This year of mine has been such a rollercoaster of blessings, and sorrow… this year I never thought I would make an adventure to CNAY Champs for Change week in February, and July be recognized for MHA Champs for Change (Four Bears Segment). Even the fact that for My dream to become a 25 Under 25 for Unity has come true!” Vonica reflected.
The MHA Champions for Change program is a Native youth leadership initiative designed to highlight positive stories of impact from the MHA Nation. The program is modeled after the Center for Native American Youth’s Champions for Change program that was inspired by a 2011 White House initiative, which develops young Native leaders through experience-based learning and tailored advocacy training. The MHA will select seven inspirational Native youth (one from each segment and one from Bismarck/Mandan, ages 14-23) to join the Casey Families Program CFC leadership network. All applicants, regardless of acceptance, are named Youth Ambassadors. Champions are Native youth who initiate programs, events, or other efforts that are improving the lives of fellow youth in Indian Country. Champions enter a close working relationship with the MHA Education Department and the Center for Native American Youth benefit from a variety of resources that enhance their advocacy skills.
Vonica stated “My goal in life was to become a youth leader for my home town Fort B, and i look at where I am today becoming a role model for my people!! My plans are to continue my education at Fort Lewis, and i want to say a big thank you for all of those who supported me along the way! This is just a beginning of my story with the many travels and recognitions I’ve been able to attend and be apart of, and with all the pros of becoming a youth leader, there are also cons a couple of weeks ago I lost my beautiful niece Kyree Dream White, and what also hurts is the fact that I miss being out on the dance floor with my friends and family. But we all must make sacrifices to where we want to be today! I just want to say thank you for this life and year, but also to my family and friends for supporting me along the way, and helping my dreams come to reality!”
For more information on this program please contact Ruth Swaney with any questions at 701-627-4113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.