Running Strong for American Indian Youth

Running Strong for American Indian Youth

What Is Running Strong For American Indian Youth?

Running Strong for American Indian Youth is a project of Christian Relief Services Charities. Started in 1986, it is now led by an American Indian Board of Directors, which aspires to create the sufficiency of individuals, families, Indian organizations in the grassroots, and communities to influence their strengths in order to solve their difficulties. The organization’s mission is to assist the American Indian natives to satisfy their survival needs like shelter, water, and food while supporting and implementing programs, which can make possibilities for self-confidence and self-sufficiency.

Running Strong for American Indian Youth programs consist of housing assistance, language and cultural preservation, youth programs, water wells, and nutrition and food distribution. For more than twenty years, the association is considered one of the most efficient and effective nonprofit association championing the cause of American Indian by offering direct services and dealing with the most difficult challenges in underserved communities.

The Running Strong for American Indian Youth Programs

The organization’s youth programs offer safe and secure caring spaces packed with healthy activities for American Indian teenagers and children. There are currently four youth alternatives such as the Center Pole, the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center, the Cheyenne River Youth Project, and the Billy Mills Youth Motivation.

The Center Pole is located in southeastern Montana at the Crow Reservation. The Center Pole program sharpens the youngsters’ ingenuity and natural creativity as they learn academics and entrepreneurship. Its mission to instruct the Crow children about their heritage and rich traditions as well as incorporate these into their lives via singing competitions, sports, service projects, gardening, and storytelling. It offers children with a secure and safe haven where they can grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally as per Crow tradition. The center cares for kids who have no place to go until the center finds a permanent place for them on the Crow Reservation.

The Cokata Wiconi Teen Center serves the Cheyenne River Lakota tribe by providing the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation in Eagle Butte in South Dakota. It offers a safe area for Native Indian youngsters and even makes service and job opportunities for them. The center also has a community-wide prevention hotline for suicide. It also offers additional fitness possibilities for those kids in the Reservation area.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project also serves the Sioux natives in South Dakota and aims to provide a community center free from drugs and alcohol for the Sioux children in the Reservation. It provides numerous after-school activities like Main University which enjoins the kids to learn culture, history, writing, and biology; homework help; outdoor recreational activities like camping trips; children’s garden; nutritious snacks and meals; basketball tournaments; art shows; Passion for Fashion events; teen nights; college nights; and activities during the holidays.

The Billy Mills Youth Motivation inspires the American Indian youngsters through Billy Mills, an Olympic Gold Medalist from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation located in South Dakota. Mills, as the organization’s spokesperson, travels across the nation to speak to American Indian kids and families in order to encourage and inspire the kids to have pride, character, and dignity via their American Indian culture.


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Most of the programs listed on this website are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring as mental health or educational facilities, either. A 2007 Report to Congress by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found cases involving serious abuse and neglect at some of these programs. Many programs advertise on the Internet and through other media, making claims about staff credentials, the level of treatment a participant will receive, program accreditation, education credit transfers, success rates, and endorsements by educational consultants. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, cautions that before you enroll a youngster in a private residential treatment program, check it out: ask questions; ask for proof or support for claims about staff credentials, program accreditation, and endorsements; do a site visit; and get all policies and promises in writing. Click here for questions to ask before you enroll your child in any program.