About me I am 16 years old and a junior at Castle View High School. Working with the Family Leadership Training Institute My mom and I are both participants in the FLTI of Arapahoe County, which …
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I am 16 years old and a junior at Castle View High School.
Working with the Family Leadership Training Institute
My mom and I are both participants in the FLTI of Arapahoe County, which stands for the Family Leadership Training Institute offered by Colorado State University Extension Office. It is a 20-week course in developing new leadership skills and learning more about the civic process. It teaches both youth and adults that they have the power to be the change makers in our communities, and part of that is through our civic project.
My FLTI project
My project is called Distributing Dignity and I am bringing feminine hygiene products to the adolescent girls on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota. To be honest I have had a few setbacks, but I am really proud of the startup project we have going. With funding from the Rotary Club through Interact at Castle View and a partnership with Cora (a brand that sells organic pads and tampons) and the Tipi Raisers, we began a pilot project that is going to bring 233 girls from the five poorest schools on the reservation enough products to last them six months. We hope to make this a year-round program, as well as branch out to the other schools on the reservation. With so few employment options for them on the reservations, it is important that girls stay in school and graduate.
Finding the idea behind Distributing Dignity
My family has been very involved with the Pine Ridge Reservation for around five years, specifically with a local nonprofit called the Tipi Raisers. The statistics about Pine Ridge will blow you away. For example, 97% of the Lakota people live below the poverty line. Some families will have 17 people crammed into a two-bedroom home with often no running water or heat. Life feels pretty hopeless for youth on the reservation, as there are no jobs, and nothing to do. That is why I was excited to become involved with the Native American Youth Summit at the Cherokee Castle last August. Through the summit we brought teens from different reservations from around the west and teens from the Front Range together to discuss our differences and our commonalities.
One discussion we had was about the lack of feminine hygiene products on the reservation. I was surprised to learn that girls often miss school during their periods because they can't afford products, and they often drop out due to falling so far behind.
"Be the change you want to see in your life," and "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid."
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