UNITY among nonprofits participating at White House gathering
Phoenix Indian Center, Inc. and United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. among 12 organizations selected nationally to provide storytelling on how they, through culture and skill building, improve the lives and opportunities for American Indian youth
August 26, 2016 – Phoenix, Arizona – Two Arizona-based nonprofits, Phoenix Indian Center, Inc. and United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (better known as UNITY), have been selected to participate in a White House gathering to provide feedback and engage in dialogue to create a better and strong future for American Indian youth with sustainable programs across the nation. The event, co-coordinated by the White House and Native Americans in Philanthropy, is designed to build on the White House’s Initiative Generation Indigenous (GEN-I), that was launched in 2014 by President Obama, which takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to help improve the lives and opportunities for American Indian youth.
The event, happening in Washington, D.C. today, will gather philanthropic leaders across sectors to hear storytelling highlights and share innovative solution-focused initiatives from nonprofits that are making a difference for American Indian youth and communities throughout the country.
Representing the Phoenix Indian Center at the event will be Josiah Lester, 17, a member of the Navajo Nation who is a senior at Mesa High School. For two years, Josiah has been an active participant of the Phoenix Indian Center’s My Brothers Keeper Program named Future Inspired Native American Leaders, College & Career Readiness Program. “Josiah is an inspiring representative for our Center and American Indian youth in our community, successfully embracing the program and overcoming barriers. In fact, he has become a leader and helps to design the youth-led program activities, maintains the elements of culture, drug and alcohol prevention, career exploration, higher education, and in solving general, social challenges our youth encounter,” said Patricia Hibbeler, CEO of the Phoenix Indian Center, who joins Josiah in Washington, D.C. at the gathering. “I am excited to support Josiah on his journey for the future and at today’s event,” added Hibbeler.
Teressa Baldwin, 22, who is Inupiaq, was born and raised in Kotzebue, Alaska, a small native village above the Arctic Circle. Teressa, who will represent UNITY at the gathering, is an active member of the national UNITY organization, having served as a regional representative for UNITY, recognized as 2014 25 Under 25 Native Youth Leader in Indian Country, and selected as one of President Obama’s Champions for Change initiative in 2011. She’s a graduate of the University of California San Diego with a degree in physiology and sociology, and a Wilma Mankiller fellow at the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, D.C. “Teressa is a shining example of today’s Native youth leaders. She is grounded in her Inupiaq culture and she has a deep desire to give back to her community. We are so proud of her leadership and accomplishments,” said Mary Kim Titla, Executive Director of UNITY. “I am honored to join Teressa at this special gathering, as she represents UNITY and the voice of our Native youth concerning many issues in our communities across the Nation,” added Titla.
Stated by the Native Americans in Philanthropy organization, “Generation Indigenous seeks to improve the lives of Native youth by promoting a national dialogue, policies, and programs to mobilize and cultivate the next generation of Native leaders. Generation Indigenous: Raising Impact with Innovation and Proven Strategies will celebrate Native-led and Native-driven promising practices and spur more philanthropic commitments towards the meaningful support of Native youth.”
ABOUT PHOENIX INDIAN CENTER, INC.
Founded in 1947, the Phoenix Indian Center is the oldest American Indian nonprofit organization in the United States. The Center serves more than 7,000 individuals annually by providing services in the areas of job readiness, cultural enrichment, youth services, and prevention programs. While the center is located in Phoenix, it assists members of the American Indian community throughout the state of Arizona and across the southwest. For more information, visit www.phxindcenter.org
ABOUT UNITY, INC.
Established 40 years ago in 1976, the United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc., is a national organization that promotes personal development, citizenship, and leadership among American Indian and Alaska Native youth between the ages of 14 – 24. With one of the largest and oldest American Indian youth leadership networks in North America, UNITY has 160 affiliated youth councils in 36 states. Youth councils are sponsored by tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges and other community organizations. For more information, visit www.unityinc.org
ABOUT GENERATION INDIGENOUS
President Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference to focus on improving the lives of Native youth by removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. Through new investments and increased engagement, this initiative takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. For more information, visit www.whitehouse.gov/nativeamericans/generation-indigenous