National Indian Youth Project Venture
Congratulations to our Shinnecock Youth who completed the National Indian Youth Project Venture Leadership Project. Congrats to the following youth: Nootimus Williams (4th grade), Anuksqua Maria Hill (5 grade), Shawn Hill (7th grade), Kaili Hunter (7th Grade), Nashota Williams (88th Grade), Dakota Smith (8th Grade), Chauncey Syas (10th Grade), Adonis Hutchings (10th Grade), Julien Putmon (7th Grade), Antony Vitola (6th Grade), Neepho Hill (10th Grade).
Alternatives’ goal for prevention is to develop positive youth behaviors, preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Project Venture is an outdoors experiential youth development program designed for high-risk American Indian youth. Project Venture aims to prevent substance use and related problems through; Outdoor adventure-based experiential activities, adventure camps and treks and community oriented service learning.
Project Venture, sponsored by Alternatives Counseling Services, goal is to foster a commitment among young people that will promote pro-social friendships, strong interpersonal skills, and reassert a sense of hope in the future. Primarily through personal relationships can a sense of individual responsibility be reestablished that will give youth the commitment to follow through on path to adulthood with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Project Venture activities are coordinated with Youth Bureau Activities whenever possible.
Project Venture is designed primarily for middle school youths. This age group is naturally developing its identity and it is a perfect time for mentoring to be effective. Project Venture has a mentoring component, pairing a youth with a mentor throughout the duration of the program. During that time the two participate in weekly planned activities to strengthen the relationship between the two and improve the young person’s confidence and hopefulness. Mentors receive continuous training and participate in meetings to report the young person’s progress. This model was successfully used during the Project Venture 2015 Summer Program. Our hope is to expand the program throughout the school year.
Through repeated failures in the classroom and the development of destructive habits, many young people have lost faith in the possibilities that await them if they are successful in putting their lives together. To accomplish this goal, young people do best in a caring, inclusive learning environment that promotes their best effort and reinforces personal respect. The program relies on American Indian traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concept, effective social skills, a community service ethic, an internal locus of control, and increased decision-making and problem-solving skills.
We want to support our youth as they navigate through life. It is important to honoring and encouraging their strengths, and be a safety net when the fall. The goal of the program is to meet the needs of all youths as they transition into adulthood and offer positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. The focus is slightly different at each level but the goal remains the same; empower the young person to make positive changes in his/her life.
Over time, Project Venture will create a learning environment that will be an invaluable resource to young people, aspiring mentors and the community at large.
Aiyana Smith-Prevention Director Alternatives Counseling Services
Adrienne Terry-Prevention Specialist