The Osage Nation Prevention Program is developing a mentoring program for Osage girls in Osage County called Strengthening Native Girls Program.
“We need some sort of resource to reduce teen pregnancy and underage drinking,” said Peaches Hail, ON Prevention Programs specialist.
The Strengthening Native Girls Program will be geared toward Osage girls ages 12-17 at high-risk of being exposed to alcohol and drug abuse.
“Teenagers face tons of risk factors and the Strengthening Native Girls Program will strive to reduce those risk factors and increase protective factors,” said Daisy Spicer, ON Prevention Programs coordinator.
In 2011, the Osage Nation received $1.9 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Of the $1.9 million in grants, the ON Prevention Program received an award for a three-year $500,000 grant to address problems in limited avenues for prevention and intervention services to teach Native American girls appropriate life management skills.
The program is in the planning stages and is currently recruiting mentors.
The ON Prevention Program is looking for 25 Osage women that are drug and alcohol free who can commit to the program for at least one year.
“We need those people who want to mobilize this community and want to make a positive impact and positive change,” Spicer said.
The ON Prevention Program wants to partner with the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center, different Osage cultural advisors and other Osage Nation departments so they can reach a broader range of Osages, she said.
“It is very important to bring an Osage cultural component to the program because it will help teach the girls who they are and where they come from,” Hail said. “It is really important for the mentors to know the culture and teach the girls.”
The main goal of the program is for the mentor to build a life-long relationship and long-lasting friendship with the mentee, she said.
“There are not a lot of programs out there that address Native adolescents,” Hail said. “We want to increase protective factors by providing a stable, consistent,positive role-modeling adult outside of their family who provides cultural awareness and education.”
The program will provide funding for the mentor and mentee’s activities, as well as build the mentee’s decision-making skills, self esteem and provide support to their families.
“We are looking to create a safety net for our youth,” Spicer said. “We are hoping our people will step up and do this with us.”
For more information contact the Osage Nation Prevention Program at (918) 287-5595.