American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth are at risk of not reaching their full development potential because they suffer from the negative consequences of living in fragmented families, generally have low educational attainment levels, and many suffer from poor mental health. These development conditions are a determining influence on the chances of success later in life. Other issues, such as chronic poverty, historical trauma and the lack of responsive social service programs, exact large costs on individuals, their communities and society more generally; thus compounding the nature and scope of the problem. RISE ABOVE is a Native Owned and Operated 501(c)3 that highlights the positive image benefits of an active lifestyle to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug use by tribal youth in addition to improving their overall physical and mental health. By using sport as a modality to empower native youth to live healthy lives, RISE ABOVE aims to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes for AI/AN children and decrease risk factors leading to poor mental health, suicidal ideation, incarceration, substance abuse and chronic diseases, such as diabetes. The project model is based on the Behavior-Image Model (BIM) that integrates the prevention of harmful behaviors with the promotion of healthy habits, in brief, locally designed interventions. It directly supports fostering the development of a strong sense of identity, developing skills to cope with challenges, supporting access to make positive choices, and fostering intergenerational, culturally responsive family connections in traditional and emerging modalities. The project yields benefits to AI/AN youth, the reservation based programs serving them, and tribal communities in Indian Country.
Through a collaboration with RISE ABOVE, reservation-based programs serving AI/AN youth will have the increased capacity to design and implement tailored programs with local feedback and data, increased local coordination among child-serving systems, demonstrate increased in the delivery of trauma-informed care practices within child-serving systems, and increased cultural sensitivity in the delivery of support services for tribal youth. Our long-term community-wide outcomes include 1) the development of community advisory councils, 2) development of community-specific intergenerational action plans, 3) local/regional youth conferences and 4) increased local peer leaders. In addition, there are objective specific outcomes (short-mid range) expected to influence demonstrated needs related to family health, educational support, and positive self-image. This project will influence thousands of youth across Indian Country over the next five years and provide a generation with the tools to RISE ABOVE.
Why working with children and creating resiliency at a young age is so important
Long-term positive effects for American Indian/Alaska Native Youth