UNITY announces its new 2019-2021 Peer Guides Cohort – includes Rory Wheeler of the Seneca Nation & Cheyenne Kippenberger of the Seminole Tribe of Florida 5/21/2019


For Immediate Release
Contact: Mary Kim Titla, (480) 718-9793
UNITY announces its 2019-2021
OJJDP Peer Guides Cohort

Mesa, Az – May 20, 2019 –
  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), KSNatane Pelkey (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes), OKSantana Bartholomew (Pueblo of Pojoaque), NMAudriana Mitchell (Colorado River Indian Tribe), AZRory Wheeler (Seneca Nation), NYCheyenne Kippenberger (Seminole Tribe of Florida), FLVance Homegun (Confederated Salish and Kootenai), MTCollin Church (Potawatomi), MNAngela Noah (White Mountain Apache), ORKorbin Storms (Native Village of Unalakleet), AKJosiah Lester (Navajo-Diné), AZLeticia Gonzales (Bishop Paiute), CAUNITY 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.
About UNITY 
Founded in 1976, United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) is a national network organization promoting personal development, citizenship, and leadership among Native Youth. UNITY’s mission is to foster the spiritual, mental, physical, and social development of American Indian and Alaska Native youth ages 14 -24, and to help build a strong, unified, and self-reliant Native America through greater youth involvement. UNITY’s network currently includes 274 affiliated youth councils in 34 states. Youth Councils are sponsored by Tribes, Alaska Native villages, high schools, colleges, urban centers, and others.

UNITY’s signature event is the National UNITY Conference, held each summer in various states. It is the longest largest Native American and Alaska Native youth leadership conference in the country, with more than 2,000 attendees annually. ###