March was a very busy time at the P.L.A.C.E., starting with the Tribal Youth’s collection of items for a care package to the Pine Ridge Cove Tribal Youth Group in South Dakota. On Jan. 24, 2015, the Pine Ridge Tribal Youth were subjected to racial slurs and had beer thrown on them at a Rapid City Rush hockey game.  We wanted to show them that despite that ugliness, there are a lot more positive people in the world.

Academic Specialist Ben McCalister and Prevention Specialist Wilson Littlehead have begun a college readiness class with around 12 of our youth in grades 8-11. This class is intended to help incoming freshman through high school aged students to gain information needed to prepare for college.

Amanda Chapman from the House of Hope held a group discussion on teen dating violence prevention, a very important message for our participants to hear. Those who participated signed a creed at the close of the session titled “These Hands Won’t Hurt.”

This accompanied our lessons for Youth Violence Prevention week, where our students participated in activities and created art focused on preventing violence amongst themselves and their peers.

The Seabots hit the water for the first time in the child development center’s indoor pool with varying degrees of success. It was great to allow the students to see their products put to the test after the past two months’ of work.

Our tribal youth program is also in the midst of a collaboration with departments like Indian Child Welfare, the Cultural Heritage Center, the CPN Eagle Aviary and the CPN Diabetes Program on the Tribal community garden. The youth made signs to show where each produce is planted for the garden’s variety of fruits, vegetables and plants. The creation of the signs put mental and physical labor to good use, with each one having English and Potawatomi spellings. Each group learned how to plant the seeds and pull weeds, a physical and mental exercise considering the garden is an acre in size.

The Diabetes Program provided a nutrition class teaching the youth healthy eating practices and how to best live a healthy life. This class was part of a larger collaboration between CPN’s Diabetes Program and the Seminole State College’s nurses program aimed at preventing diabetes. This four week program recently concluded with the diabetes program doing a cooking demonstration for the youth, showing them how they can prepare and cook their own healthy meals.

Spring Break was an exciting time for the youth, where a swimming visit at the child development center pool was also combined into a learning experience. The youth were trained in CPR and First Aid before drying off and heading over for an afternoon at FireLake Bowling Center.

Midweek in Spring Break also saw our Tribal youth participants celebrate “Kick Butt Day,” a leading event in our smoking prevention program. To illustrate the detrimental impact of tobacco on cardiovascular fitness, we then took the youth for a day at the Hay Day laser tag center in Norman. We completed the week with a movie at the Warren Movie Theater in Moore before and lunch at Steak-N-Shake.

This year’s FireLodge Tribal Youth officers are also below, and it is they who will lead us in the coming year!