February at the FireLodge Tribal Youth Program the P.L.A.C.E. was a busy time. The youth celebrated Black History Month, Healthy Heart Month, learned about teen dating violence prevention  and worked some time in for Valentine’s Day.

For Black History Month, staff focused on instruction teaching the youth about famous African Americans like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Booker T. Washington. The youth had a good time learning new facts and doing a word find.

They also celebrated Fat Tuesday with a little celebration accompanied by some famous New Orleans music. We even tied our monthly cooking classes into the Mardi Gras celebrations with shrimp boil for Fat Tuesday.

In February the KABOOM Imagination Playground-in-a-Cart arrived. The playground-in-a-cart was donated by Kaboom and the Blue cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma. The imagination playground offers children the opportunity for open minded free play. The youth have made a fort, a race car and a king’s throne. The tribal youth are excited to have this new program. It provides them a time to relax and build things.

Healthy Heart Month started off at the P.L.A.C.E. with our staff offering heart healthy snacks. It wasn’t the student’s favorite snack time, but it worked out. The Tribal youth members continued to walk a mile a day to keep up with their 100 mile program that promotes a healthy heart and lifestyle. It wasn’t all physical though, as students competed in a poster contest focusing on healthy heart. We also watched some films, as down time seeing “Uncle Buck”, “Cool Runnings” and “What about Bob” provided some therapeutic levity during a busy February.

The House of Hope domestic violence prevention program’s Amanda Chapman also taught a four week class on dating violence prevention. While we know it is not a pleasant topic to cover, its impact is vitally important in teaching our youth as they grow older and face new circumstances.

The youth were also challenged to come up with a t-shirt design for students against violence anytime. The winner will have their design put on a t-shirt that will be worn by all of our Tribal youth staff and students. This will provide us with something to wear as we enter March, which is National Students against Violence Month.

If you have a tribal youth that would be interested in our FireLodge Tribal Youth or P.L.A.C.E. programs, please call us at 405-214-5110 or email me at dgreene@potawatomi.org.