Published On: Fri, Aug 12th, 2011

Afterschool program encourages youth to get involved in their community

     Cherokee Choices is a diabetes prevention program and has been going into the schools to teach students on nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, art, metal health and sleep just to name a few.  But, it  all falls under an umbrella of prevent diabetes.

     One of the programs that Cherokee Choices runs is an afterschool program.  This year the program worked with 4th graders, and one of the requirements for the afterschool program is the students had to get involved with their community.  They had to attend their community meetings and do a community project which they presented at the end of the program. 

     “Some of the values of the Cherokees are stewardship, sense of place, group harmony and strong individual character,” states Tara McCoy, Cherokee Choices staff.  “ And, I feel getting involved in the community-taking care, protecting, honoring and serving not only  reinforces these values but can turn these into a lifestyle trait if started young and develop strong individual character and sense of belonging for the youth.”

     Kyler Hill, of the Big Cove Community, and William Hornbuckle, of the Soco Community, gave a presentation about their involvement with the Tsali Care residents at Easter.  They went to Tsali care at Easter and spent time with the residents and helped them dye Easter eggs.  They relayed that holidays are a good time to visit the residents since it is usually a highlight of one’s life and when people are in resident homes some may not have family who visit them.

     Juanita Paz-Chulcha gave her presentation on risky behaviors.  She had a large poster stating the risks, behaviors and how to stay away from alcohol and drugs.  She took this presentation out into her community at an Easter party and a D.A.R.E event.

     The 2011 afterschool program for Cherokee 5th graders will start Wednesday, Sept. 7.  There are only 20 spots available.  The “I am my community” segment is required for all participants in the program.  Info:  Yvette 497-1978 or Tara 497-1976

 – Cherokee Choices

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