NativeVision Sports & Lifeskills

Theme(s):
Adolescent Health, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention, Nutrition Promotion and Obesity and Diabetes Prevention

NativeVision is a unique national youth enrichment and empowerment initiative for American Indian children, operated by the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. Launched in 1996 in partnership with the NFL Players Association and the Nick Lowery Charitable Foundation, more than 40,000 Native youth and tribal community members from dozens of tribes across the country have been reached.

American Indian youth living on reservations today suffer the poorest health, socioeconomic and educational status of any racial or ethnic group in the country, with the highest rates of suicide, obesity, diabetes, high school dropout, substance abuse and poverty. NativeVision is a strengths-based program to overcome these issues by engaging professional and collegiate athletes as volunteer mentors to promote healthy lifestyles, fitness, and the pursuit of education through the vehicle of sports.

The guiding principle for NativeVision is to cultivate the core strengths, values and positive relationships of American Indian youth that will make them resilient and help them transition to a healthy, productive and fulfilling adulthood.

NativeVision Sports and Life Skills Camp
Now in its 20th year, the annual NativeVision camp is held annually in a tribal community and serves up to 1,000 youth from dozens of tribes.  One of the many powerful aspects of NativeVision is the opportunity for youth from different Indian nations to meet and share their cultures.  The 2016 camp took place June 9-11 at the Muskogee (Creek) National in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.  

At the camp, the Center engages professional and collegiate athletes (football, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, volleyball and track) as mentors who donduct sports clinics and lead inspirational breakout sessions with youth ages 7-18, with guidance from Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health's public health experts.  The athletes share their own stories of perseverance and overcoming adversity, and honor the youth's heritage and cultures. At the camp, a variety of life skills workshops are offered for the children and community members including nutrition, arts and crafts, leadership and positive parenting.  Two college scholarships are awarded to participating youth annually through a competitive application process that honors academic achievement and community involvement.

NativeVision Year Round Program

To extend the impact of camp and reinforce the attitude and behavior change that is so powerfully begun in the summer, the Center for American Indian Health has lauched year-round NativeVision after-school programs in five tribal communities.  The after school program is currently serving students in Santo Domingo Pueblo (NM), the White Mountain Apache tribe (AZ), on the Navajo Nation (Shiprock, NM and Tuba City, AZ), and with the Tonawanda Seneca Nation (NY), with plans to expand to additional communities in the years ahead.  The model includes: 

  • Regular fitness activities.
  • Nutrition and health lifestyles promotion.
  • Encouragement to complete high school and pursue higher education.
  • Parent engagement to support their participating children's goals.
  • ​Elder's involvement to promote resilience, wellness and cultural connectedness.

The NativeVision camp and after-school programs are throughly evaluated to monitor impact and changes in knowledge, attitudes and behavior among the youth.

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