25U25 – 2014 Class – UNITY, Inc.

UNITY 25 Under 25 raises awareness at Columbia University

Former UNITY 25 Under 25 awardee Kellian Staggers, Dine, has been active in spreading awareness regarding native and indigenous people and communities since arriving to Columbia University.  Staggars was an active member of the UNITY Navajo Prep Naat’aanii Youth Council while attending Navajo Preparatory School, which has prepared her for her college endeavors.  In light of Columbia’s failure to name Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an official University holiday, Columbia’s Native American Council organized a day-long gathering at the Sundial on Monday rallying students to pen statements to the University Senate advocating for official recognition.

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From Her Grandparents’ House to the White House

Kelly CharleyIf you look at Kelly Charley, you’ll see an average American teen. However, if you start talking to her, you’ll realize that she’s far above average.

Charley, a sophomore at Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, New Mexico, was recently at the White House. No, she wasn’t on a tour. She had been invited to the White House Science Fair to display her prize-winning project.

When Charley first received the email from AISES telling her about the invitation, she was excited. “I realized this was a once in-a-lifetime kind of thing,” she says.

Read the rest of the story on the AISES Website.

Inaugural Class of 25 Under 25 Reports

Members of the inaugural class of the UNITY 25 Under 25 program have been requested to provide a report on their activities during the year. The attached reports show that some class members have had a busy and productive time. You may read about the activities of nine program participants by clicking on the links below.

Other reports will soon be posted so check back to this page for the new additions.

Taylor A. Charlie: Project Update

Taylor CharlieWhat an exciting year and busy year it has been for me.  My focus has been working with the homeless population in the greater Phoenix area, a project that I hold dear to my heart.  For many people, homelessness can be just one paycheck away.  According to the Department of Economic Security’s 2013 annual report, 27,877 adults and children experience homelessness in Arizona, with Maricopa County representing 64% of the state’s homeless population. 

By providing food, warm clothing and toiletries I have taken to the streets a couple times a month to serve food and distribute my donations. In addition, I have been working with a local group that focuses on serving the homeless and providing them with my photography skills.  They use my pictures to promote service on their social media pages and in publications.

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Kelly Charley Featured in Winds of Change Story

Kelly Charley was featured in the Fall 2014 issue of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Winds of Change magazine. You may read the story online HERE. Also, on page 11 of the same issue, there is a sidebar story about Kelly being honored as a member of the inaugural class of UNITY’s 25 Under 25 program.

Winds of Change Magazine CoverMuch of Kelly Charley’s life has been spent with her grandparents in Sweetwater, Ariz., a small town in a rural area. Working with their farm animals made her curious about why things are the way they are. The natural world is full of mystery, Charley discovered, but science has come up with a wealth of explanations. Her mother majored in chemistry, and mother’s interest became Charley’s interests. Charley learned a great deal just from working on her grandparents’ property. She was always interested in trying new things and understanding more.

Read the rest of the story in the online Winds of Change magazine.

25 Under 25 Honoree Spearheading Service Projects

Leslie Locklear

Leslie Locklear, Lumbee, and a UNITY 25 Under 25 Honoree, is putting her Action Planning training into practice as she spearheads three service projects.  Locklear is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a focus on Educational Studies and Cultural Foundations.  She recently served as a peer leader at the “Today Native Leaders” Training in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Her three projects include a Healing Circle for inter-generational women, college prep workshops and higher education workshops. “The first healing circle will be held in December with inter-generational women in the One Spirit Dance Group in Guilford County, North Carolina. Within the North Carolina tribal community the women of the Waccamaw Siouan tribe came together to host healing circles as a way to not only support each other but to support the entire tribal community. These women met monthly to share their time, love and support with each other and celebrate their own strength and happiness while also opening their hearts and sharing each others struggles. I want to conduct similar circles in my community with the local women in order to join us together as Native women in a more urban environment,” said Locklear.

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25 UNDER 25 Pictures and Biographies

Meet the Inaugural Class

UNITY 25 UNDER 25 Youth Leadership Award Recipients

Teressa Baldwin (Inupiaq Eskimo)
Kotzebue, AK
Age: 20 Years Old

Teressa Unaliin Baldwin, an Inupiaq Eskimo from Kotzebue, Alaska, is an undergraduate at the University of California, San Diego where she is pursuing a degree in Sociology and Business. During her sophomore year at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a native boarding school in Sitka, Alaska she made the goal of saving one hundred people from committing suicide. Since then she became the founder of a suicide prevention campaign called Hope4Alaska. In which she traveled to over twenty high schools across Alaska to speak about her personal experience, and how to overcome suicide. Teressa’s work has also been recognized by President Obama in 2011, where she was recognized as a Champion for Change. Since then, Teressa has spoken on the wellbeing of indigenous people with multiple senators and congressmen. Teressa’s goal is to dedicate her life to the wellbeing of her tribe and home state of Alaska.

Maria Bartlett (Pascua Yaqui)
Phoenix, AZ
Age: 19 Years Old

Maria is a member of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is nineteen years old and is currently attending Arizona State University, as a student in the Barrett Honors College, studying Nonprofit Leadership and Management. Maria is very involved in her community, volunteering with the Yonokame College group through her tribe and serving as a Girl Scout troop leader. After graduation, she plans on continuing her education and starting her career in the nonprofit sector. Maria is honored to represent her tribe and community in the 25 Under 25 program.

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UNITY “25 UNDER 25” Honorees Announced

Inaugural Class of Native American Youth to be Honored June 28
at UNITY National Conference in Portland, Oregon

Mesa, AZ – United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) has announced the 2014 inaugural class of its new national youth leadership recognition program, the “25 Under 25 Native Youth Leadership Awards”. The awards program is designed to celebrate the achievements of Native American and Alaskan Native youth ages 14 to 24 who embody UNITY’s core mission and exude living a balanced life developing their spiritual, mental, physical and social well-being.

Honorees will be recognized at a ceremony during the UNITY National Conference taking place June 28 – July 3 in Portland, Oregon, with each receiving a hand-made beaded “25 Under 25” medallion. There, they will join more than 1,300 Native youth who are converging at the National Conference for a full week of youth leadership development, featuring Tribal leaders, expert trainers, and Native youth peers from throughout the country.

“We are thrilled to announce and congratulate our first class of the UNITY 25 Under 25 awards program” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. She added, “Our regional voting panelists had a major task, vetting each candidate and narrowing the field to those who stood-out and exemplified what the UNITY organization has stood for, for the past 38 years. We look forward to seeing the honorees in Portland, and I encourage everyone to congratulate these outstanding individuals for putting their best foot forward in representing our Tribal communities and Native youth leadership.”

In addition to being recognized, each awardee will receive special training by UNITY over the period of one year that is designed to build on their individual achievements. The inaugural class will be recognized as UNITY ambassadors, serving as stellar examples of Native youth leadership in Indian Country today.

A larger version of the above left graphic is attached.

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