One of the toughest jobs in America is teaching youth, but for some, it is what they  are called to do. Newly hired specialists for the FireLodge Youth Council, Ben McAlister and Wilson Littlehead, are taking on the important job of molding the tribal youth into young professionals.

The FYC works with local Native American youth in order to provide positive after school programs for teenagers from 12-17 years old. Both McAlister and Littlehead previously worked as tutors for the program.

Starting out as an employee at FireLake Designs, CPN member Ben McAlister juggled work and school while attending the University of Oklahoma in Norman. There, he earned his Bachelor’s in Anthropology in 2012 with a double minor in History and Art History. In 2013, McAlister began as a tutor at the tribal youth after school program. His passion for mentoring the youth earned him the position of Academic Support Specialist.

“I’m in charge of making sure the kids keep their grades up at the school each one goes to,” said McAlister. “Along with that, I will be making sure that each kid is going to pass their classes. Tutoring taught me a good amount of skills that will carry over into this job.”

Littlehead, a current student at OU, is working towards a degree in Sociology and Psychology. He started out as a tutor for the FYC and is in his fourth year at CPN. The Sac and Fox Nation-member is settling in to his first year as the FYC Prevention Specialist where he organizes fundraisers, trips and events for the kids.

“Being here for four years now, I’ve been able to see a lot of the progress of this department. We have so many different resources and opportunities here that it’s really great to be a part of because of all we have to offer,” said Littlehead.

Together the duo will be bringing in new programs within FYC. McAlister will be implementing a “Freshmen to Freshmen” program which will keep the youth on track to become college students. Littlehead plans on developing a program that will pair youth with careers they wish to pursue.

“If a kid wants to become a doctor then I’m going to help them get an opportunity to shadow a doctor so they can get experience before they even go to college,” said Littlehead. “My goal is to apply career readiness to the youth here.”

“Our predecessors left a good foundation for us,” said McAlister. “We just want to continue to get out in the community and let people know of all the good things we are doing here.”

For more information please contact the FireLodge Youth Council at 405-275-3121.