Billy Mills Names 10 Native Youth to Receive $10K Dreamstarters Each

Billy Mills

Published March 3, 2018 

Running Strong for American Indian Youth Gives Fourth Round of Awards for Dream Projects in Native Communities

WASHINGTON –  On Thursday, Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills named the fourth annual class of American Indian youth to receive $10,000 Dreamstarter grants for projects that help their communities and bring their dreams to life. Each year since 2015, Running Strong has chosen ten American Indian youth ages 14 – 30 to receive Dreamstarter grants. Each Dreamstarter will work together with a community nonprofit on project around the theme of Science and the Environment, and will receive mentorship, training and support from Running Strong.

Mills announced the names of this year’s Dreamstarters on Facebook Live.

“Each year, our Dreamstarters inspire me with their incredible talent and limitless passion,” said Mills, who is Oglala Lakota (Sioux) from Pine Ridge, SD and co-founder of Running Strong. “This class represents the next generation of Native scientists, environmentalists, and water protectors. I believe in them, in their dreams, and in the future they are building for all of us.”

The 2018 – 2019 Dreamstarters are:

Kunu Bearchum (Northern Cheyenne), 28, Portland, OR

Mentor Organization: Wisdom of the Elders, Inc.

Lauren Carpenter (Catawba Indian Nation), 17, Rock Hill, SC

Mentor Organization: Catawba Cultural Preservation Project

Michael Charles (Navajo), 23, Columbus, OH

Mentor Organization: American Indian Science and Engineering Society

Easton Chong (Native Hawaiian), 17, Kamuela, HI

Mentor Organization: Kailapa Community Association

Kendrick Eagle (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe), 24, Bismarck, ND

Mentor Organization: Sacred Pipe Resource Center

Kelsey Leonard (Shinnecock Indian Nation), 29, Southampton, NY

Mentor Organization: Citizens Campaign Fund for the Environment

Sunny Nez (Navajo), 18, Shiprock, NM

Mentor Organization: Capacity Builders, Inc.

Lourdes Pedroza-Downey (Round Valley Indian Tribes), 16, Covelo, CA

Mentor Organization: Round Valley Native American Studies Program

Tinisha Rose Quintana (Navajo and Northern Ute), 20, Spanish Fork, UT

Mentor Organization: Nebo Title VI Indian Education

Tara Rouillard (Oglala Lakota), 14, Porcupine, SD

Mentor Organization: Pine Ridge Girls School

More information about the fourth class of Dreamstarters and their projects is available at

Running Strong will give away a total of fifty $10,000 Dreamstarter grants over five years to support Native youth’s dreams for their communities. This announcement makes a total of forty Dreamstarters selected so far. The project was announced in October 14, 2014, to coincide with the 50thanniversary of Billy Mills’s gold medal win at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

Last year, Mills and Running Strong started a companion project, Dreamstarter Teacher, which awards $500 – $1000 grants to teachers to support the educational needs of Native students.  Running Strong has named a total of 46 educators serving students from dozens of tribal nations in 12 states. Applications are now open for the next class of Dreamstarter Teachers. More information about the program and recipients can be found at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :