UNITY Announces Its New 2019-2021 Peer Guides Cohort

Published May 22, 2019

MESA, Ariz. — UNITY welcomes twelve young leaders who have been selected to participate in UNITY’s Peer Guide program; designed and built on the successes of the organization’s previous Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) National Intertribal Youth Leadership efforts and the Today’s Native Leaders program. The three-year program will support and enhance Native youth engagement, coordination, and action related to community support systems and cultural approaches to restorative justice, with a focus on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention in Indian country.

“UNITY is pleased to announce this partnership with OJJDP, we are looking forward to providing Native youth with the opportunities made possible through the Intertribal Youth Development Initiative. I encourage Native youth and youth-serving programs throughout Native America to take part in this impactful three-year project,” said Mary Kim Titla, UNITY Executive Director.

With mentoring and training focused on delinquency prevention and juvenile justice issues in Indian Country, the cohort will serve as project advisors and peer trainers to lead other Native youth through a series of six regional gatherings and webinars; providing technical assistance for youth-developed projects over the next three years.

  2019-2021 Peer Guides:

  • Sonwai Dj Wakayuta (Hualapai), KS
  • Natane Pelkey (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes), OK
  • Santana Bartholomew (Pueblo of Pojoaque), NM
  • Audriana Mitchell (Colorado River Indian Tribe), AZ
  • Rory Wheeler (Seneca Nation), NY
  • Cheyenne Kippenberger (Seminole Tribe of Florida), FL
  • Vance Homegun (Confederated Salish and Kootenai), MT
  • Collin Church (Potawatomi), MN
  • Angela Noah (White Mountain Apache), OR
  • Korbin Storms (Native Village of Unalakleet), AK
  • Josiah Lester (Navajo-Diné), AZ
  • Leticia Gonzales (Bishop Paiute), CA

UNITY received dozens of applications from highly qualified candidates who exuded both passion and dedication to empowering others to overcome adversity and challenges within their communities. Each applicant shared heartfelt testimonies of community challenges they have overcome, and their previous experiences with the juvenile justice system. The Peer Guides will look to those Native youth who have shown interest in the program, by incorporating them into the future trainings and awareness campaigns.

The Peer Guide cohort is made possible by a cooperative agreement (2018-TY-FX-K002) between UNITY, Inc. and the US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

For more information about UNITY, its programs, and the 2019 National UNITY Conference, visit www.unityinc.org.

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