Just For The Girls
TULALIP, WA. Being young is one of the most thrilling
times in a person's life. It is the time frame between major responsibilities
and no responsibilities at all, however, the decisions made during
this phase can be hazardous to their future. Some decisions can
destroy your life while others will define what type of an adult
you will be. To help teen Native girls navigate this precarious
time, a new group designed just for them through Tulalip Family
Haven is providing Native girls the support they need to become
the most successful person they can be.
The group, simply referred to as Girls Group, will offer Native
girls, 14-17 years old, support in life skills, education, and cultural
understanding. The group uses the Canoe Journey, Life's Journey
curriculum guide by June LeMarr and G. Alan Marlatt, which is a
comprehensive evidence-based intervention curriculum guide for Native
adolescents. The girls will be taught to make choices that promote
positive actions while learning to avoid the hazards of alcohol,
tobacco, and other drugs.
"This is about intervention, prevention and education to keep
girls away from hazardous lifestyles, while increasing their self-esteem
and empowering their self-awareness to ensure they become successful
adults," said Yvette McGimpsey the group's project director.
"The idea is to teach young Native women life skills, everything
from how to cook and clean to budgeting finances, along with cultural
awareness," explained Sasha Smith the group's lead youth advocate.
"As we do our curriculum, we will be incorporating activities such
as crafts and guest speakers from the community and from our elders.
We will also be doing other education pieces such as sexual education,
and dangers of alcohol and drug use."
Curriculum will also include nutrition education through the
Washington State University Nutrition Program, which uses an interactive
approach through trained staff, to teach participants to develop
skills and behavioral healthy eating. Community work, such as cleaning
up beaches and visiting elders will also be included.
"A simple day in the group would be, we pick them up from school,
they will have time devoted to doing homework, then we do an activity
such as art and craft making. Then we will all make dinner together
and work on a lesson from the curriculum guide," said McGimpsey.
"And that is the biggest thing, these girls may not have a healthy
place to go after school or have homework help or have someone teaching
them those critical life skills. This will be a safe place for them,"
said Smith. "We will also be exposing them to things they would
never get a chance to experience, such as the ballet or an art gallery,"
The group meets every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays and is
free to join, and participants can be enrolled in the group until
they graduate. A community advisory board, made up of youth advocate
volunteers and professionals, will also evaluate the group's progress
monthly for effectiveness.
For more information on the Family Haven Girls Group or how
to sign up, please contact lead youth advocate Sasha Smith at 360-716-4404.