I attend the National UNITY Conference this past July as the Peer Guide representing the South Eastern region, help create guidelines and goals for our program, and partake in the conference I was able to visit with the youth who attended the conference which was special to me, especially being in my home state!
I had such a great time at the National Conference! I had the honor of joining an amazing cohort of individuals that will be serving youth across Indian Country affected by the foster care system and juvenile justice system through a partnership between UNITY and the OJJDP. I will be serving as a Peer Guide for the next three years. We spent the 5 days organizing, planning, and discussing goals and the structure of our new program as a team. We worked hard and long every day. It was my first time attending a National UNITY Conference so I was excited, but it was even more special because my tripe was the hosting tribe. There were cultural demonstrations from my tribe as well as other south eastern tribes. I experienced my first caucus where I watched the youth from my region discuss issues affecting their communities and create solutions together. My favorite parts were the talent show and banquet night. Watching the youth have so much confidence and go up on stage was so inspiring to see! I could of never at their age! On banquet night all of the attendees dressed up and following the dinner and fashion show by Red Berry Woman, was a dance!
It was such a beautiful event to be apart of not just as MIW, but as an attendee and a member of UNITY. Great energy, beautiful people, and a great mission. I was so happy to see the youth interact and exchange with one another. With over 2,500 attendees from all over the states and canada was beautiful, I had never experienced anything like that before and I was so grateful to be apart of it. I was able to see the organization and conference from a different perspective. I had only ever attended UNITY for the mid-year conference in Arizona as a guest emceeing a panel discussion, so it was new for me to see the “other side.” UNITY is such a positive impacting organization and I am so proud to be a peer guide!