WR Tribal Youth Program Receives National Award

 Victoria Fregoso reports, vfregoso@k2tv.com

 The Wind River Tribal Youth Program has reached out to thousands of at risk youth since it was established twelve years ago. And now, they are the first tribal program to be nationally recognized.

 Program coordinators with the Wind River Tribal Youth Program in Ethete spend a countless number of hours playing a positive roll in the lives of those looking for help on the reservation.

"On a daily basis, what this program does is we provide prevention methods for families, not just the children," said Donna L Trosper, Director of the Wind River Tribal Youth Program.

They knew what they're doing is great, but when the Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration told them they are the recipients of 2012's Voices of Change Award, it was a real eye opener on how successful the program is.

"Through the prevention programs, coast to coast, ocean to ocean, including all 50 states, this is the first time a Native American program has ever been chosen," said Liz Salway-Littlecreek, the Juvenille Re-Entry Coordinator for the Wind River Tribal Youth Program.

On average, the program sees between 20 to 30 youth every month.
They provide a variety of assistance, including alcohol and substance abuse prevention, along with HIV awareness and suicide prevention.

"For these individuals to allow us to help them, I think that's the reward within it's self," said Telano Groesbeck, the Drugs and Alcohol Prevention Advocate for the program. "But it is good to be recognized as a program, as a tribe."

When asked what makes the program a success, a variety of factors come into play, including the sweat lodge that attracts people looking to improve their lives and the staff members that have personal experience with the issues these families face.

"They allow the people to know it's ok, to be able to tell them anything, so that we're able to reach the child or adult that comes forward," said Trosper.

Program coordinators will travel to Washington DC next week to accept their award.