The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Youth Program is kicking off the annual afterschool club, The P.L.A.C.E. The Potawatomi Learning and Cultural Exchange program is offered for three quarters during the school year. The first quarter began in September and runs through Thanksgiving and the second quarter begins in December.
“All local youth between the ages of twelve and seventeen, or seniors in high school, living in the Shawnee area are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible,” said program coordinator BJ Trousdale. “Currently there are ten slots available for the first quarter of the school year. We strongly encourage youth who can commit at least three days per week until at least 5:15 p.m. to participate. During the P.L.A.C.E. Afterschool Club, youth participate in a fast-paced, exciting environment which is intended to extend the student’s school day in a safe, productive, and educational environment.”
Transportation is provided from several local school districts to the CPN Gym Monday through Friday. During program hours, youth are engaged in educational, cultural, and social activities between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day. These activities are designed to support our program’s mission, which is to enhance Native American youth’s ability to successfully connect and contribute to their modern American community and their traditional Native American culture.
Youth are provided a nutritious snack before engaging in homework and tutoring programs each day. All youth are required to spend at least 40 minutes in this activity. In addition, each youth participates in a life skills class one day a week and a cultural awareness class one day a week for at least 40 minutes. The remaining hours of the program are used for community connection/service activities, free-play, physical wellness, and fine arts programs.
“Ultimately, the impact on the community is three-pronged,” said Trousdale. “First, we guide the youth in the program to be productive and contributing citizens in our community. Our goal is to ensure that all youth succeed in school and graduate from high school all the while avoiding criminal and delinquent behavior through positive peer relationships and service to their surrounding community. Second, we support youth to become more culturally aware and proud of who they are and help to advocate their roles in the community as it relates to others -other generations, other tribes, other ethnicities, etc. Finally, we encourage the youth participating at the P.L.A.C.E. to be prepared for the future. This may mean preparing them for high school, for college, and the workplace, but more importantly, it means preparing and encouraging them to set a positive example and guide future generations to do the same for their youth as well.”
Parent participation is also encouraged in the program. This may include, but is not limited to, participating in an educational support team.
The P.L.A.C.E relies solely on federal and state funds to implement all of these activities and keep nine outstanding and highly qualified staff in place. The program is currently seeking volunteers in the community to work with youth and develop positive mentoring relationships using a variety of skills and/or personal experiences. Potential volunteers are asked to complete a short program application. An orientation will take place later this fall and applications are encouraged and very much appreciated. Contact Kyle Miller at 405-214-5110 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once the program reaches full capacity of 55 youth, a limited number will be admitted which include CPN tribal members or youth in out of home placements (i.e., emergency custody/foster care placements). If interested in enrolling please contact Michael Logan at 405-214-5110 or at email@example.com.