Funding to provide college and career readiness to fifth through eighth graders in Cherokee County
Published October 1, 2015
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — Cherokee Nation Foundation is partnering with the American Indian Resource Center to bring more than a half a million dollars annually to students in Cherokee County. The four-year federal grant worth $584,000 per year will address career and college readiness needs of Native students in fifth through eighth grades.
“The best investment we can make as a tribe is in our children,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “In the past four years we’ve increased the number of scholarships to our students, established programs to ensure our children are prepared for the workforce, and developed leadership skills in our youth to prepare them for the future. As we continue making education a priority, we are grateful the federal government understands the life-changing impact these programs have on our children.”
The Cherokee Nation Foundation and American Indian Resource Center collaborated with Cherokee Nation’s education department and the Cherokee Immersion Charter School for the U.S. Department of Education’s grant funding.
The grant will be used to support a holistic approach for career and college readiness, which includes financial literacy, ACT prep, after-school tutoring, career services, job training and leadership development. Funding also supports a new computer lab at the Cherokee Immersion School, teacher recruitment, college campus tours and STEM-related activities such as robotics programs and summer camps.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to enhance and expand our services to students within the Cherokee Nation,” said Janice Randall, executive director of the Cherokee Nation Foundation. “Our first priority is helping Native youth succeed, and we are far more capable of doing that by partnering with organizations that have a similar mission.”
AIRC, who is managing the grant, expects to serve nearly 2,000 students annually beginning Oct. 1.
“We are thrilled to be one of the four partners who are bringing this funding into the heart of Cherokee Nation,” said Pam Iron, program evaluator from American Indian Resource Center. “This project serves as a model for how the AIRC helps connect resources and opportunities to Native students so they are better prepared for a successful future.”
The grant is part of more than $5.3 million awarded to a dozen recipients through the Native Youth Community Projects program.