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White House Highlights Native American Youth as “Champions of Change”

WASHINGTON, DC – On Thursday, December 1st, eleven Native American Youth leaders will be honored at the White House as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating.

“The ‘Champions of Change’ for Native American youth are here to share their stories and to attend the White House Tribal Nations Conference.  They are examples of the generation that will build a stronger future for Indian Country by continuing to address the challenges facing American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Associate Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Charlie Galbraith.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

These outstanding young Americans were selected from a group of hundreds who answered President Obama’s call to share their stories of leadership and community service. 

The White House’s Native American Youth “Champions of Change” honorees are:

Teressa Baldwin
Native Village of Kiana
Sitka, AK

Teressa Baldwin has been directly impacted by suicide and wanted to take action to help reduce the rate of suicide in her home state of Alaska. As a junior in high school, Teressa was appointed by Governor Sean Parnell to the Statewide Suicide Prevention council and became one of the youngest appointed representatives in the state of Alaska.

Following her appointment, Teressa started her own organization teaching her peers about the signs of suicide and sharing her own story about how suicide affected her life. After facing common hurdles to suicide prevention programs, including high costs and low enrollment numbers in trainings, Teressa has been able to work with 12 schools on suicide prevention programs and is hoping to expand to more. Teressa feels that her work is part of her life goal to help lower the rates of suicide in not only Alaska but the rest of the country.

 

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