UNITY Announces Earth Ambassador Program
Mesa, AZ— Native youth have a unique opportunity to serve as Earth Ambassadors for the next nine-months as part of an environmental stewardship program just announced by the national UNITY organization. UNITY, also known as 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 155 affiliated youth councils in 35 states. Youth councils are sponsored by tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges and other community organizations.
The UNITY Earth Ambassadors Leadership Program, partially funded by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, will offer 25 Native youth, who have demonstrated leadership potential, shown an interest in protecting the environment, and have been active in community service projects, an opportunity to learn more about environmental issues and how to become effective ambassadors for the protection of the earth’s environment. The inaugural class will attend training sessions and informational workshops to increase their knowledge of environmental issues affecting Native America, learn to serve as an ambassador to increase awareness of the issues affecting the environmental quality on Native lands, and promote the efforts to address environmental concerns within the nation’s Native communities.
”UNITY is honored to announce on Earth Day the revival of the Earth Ambassador Program, which was first introduced in the 1990s and produced honorable environmentally conscious citizens, such as actor Chaske Spencer (Twilight)” said Mary Kim Titla, San Carlos Apache, UNITY Executive Director. “I look forward to meeting a new crop of Native American youth ambassadors who will promote environmental stewardship. The Earth Ambassador program further supports UNITY’s mission to empower our young people and to give them a voice on environmental issues,” added Titla.
The 2015 class of Earth Ambassadors will be announced during the National UNITY Conference in July in Washington, DC, which is where they will receive their initial training. This and subsequent training will include sessions on environmental stewardship focusing on, but not limited to, recycling, conservation, regeneration, and restoration. The leadership development will continue throughout the year and include an outdoor experience where they will develop team working skills and participate in knowledge building sessions conducted by tribal elders and those professionally involved in the field of environmental protection.
The ambassadors will also have the opportunity to participate in other leadership trainings including webinars. The Ambassadors may receive additional training during the 2016 UNITY Midyear Conference in Portland, Oregon. During this time the Ambassadors will have an opportunity to take their message to tribal and government agency representatives, and lawmakers. A major growth experience will come from the Ambassadors’ interactions with each other. The opportunity for peer mentorship/growth are extraordinary and results in personal/professional bonds that will last a lifetime.
A Selection Committee will include among others; UNITY alumni, tribal leaders, educators, business leaders, community activists, and scientists from related fields of study.
- Nominees must be between 14 and 24 years of age before July 2015;
- Recipients are required to participate in the National UNITY Conference in Washington, DC on July 10, 2015, and in all subsequent leadership training sessions;
- Recipients must be willing to serve as UNITY spokespeople and ambassadors throughout the program and to be interviewed by the media so as to extend the reach of the program;
- Recipients must have demonstrated an interest in environmental issues, participated in community service, and shown leadership potential.
- To be considered a potential ambassador must be nominated by a community member. An acceptable nomination, which must be received by May 13, 2015, has to include:
- A nomination form with all questions completed;
- Essay (250 words or less);
- Letter(s) of support; and
- Proof of tribal or state enrollment.
Note: Nominators may nominate more than one person, but self-nominations will not be accepted.
The registration site will go live on Wednesday, April 29. Please check UNITY’s website for more updates at www.unityinc.org.