About NBNY - Nick Lowery Youth Foundation

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About NBNY

What We Do > Nation Building for Native Youth


Nation Building for Native Youth (NBNY) is a life-changing Diversity leadership empowerment program for Native youth grades 10-12 and their adult advisors. NBNY programs represent 25 tribes from New England, Northern Plains, Great Lakes, Southeast, Southern Plains, New Mexico and Arizona.

NBNY Consists Of:
NBNY and NExT are the foremost programs of The Nick Lowery Youth Foundation (NLYF), a 501 (c)(3) Arizona nonprofit organization. Since 2003, 600 Native and Diverse Youth and adult advisors have participated in NBNY and NExT Summer Institutes. An additional 10,000 youth have been reached through the assemblies, materials, workshops and the work of the adult advisors in their home communities. With grants from the UPS and Lee Kreindler Foundations, and a new partnership with Sharon Lechter's Thrivetime Challenge and Pay Your Family First, NLY Foundation is indeed thriving.

NBNY and NExT comprise 1-5 day institutes throughout the year in diversity leadership training for all youth, from prison youth populations, to high school and middle schools, to the top academic youth in the country at Dartmouth College. We focus on the informal components of awareness and self esteem ~ cognition, perception, and learning ~ to group awareness and behavioral styles, trust building, and team exercises, and the more formal components of public speaking and advocacy.

The outcome is:

a) students that are a far more attractive college candidate

b) greater life-long citizens for a diverse country and world stage

c) a profoundly enhanced awareness of each student's most effective learning fingerprint, group leadership style,
and most meaningful life purpose.

In short, we help integrate the Focus, Passion and Purpose that are the prime indicators of all successful community-driven lives. The Gallup Institute found recently that Hope and Engagement are far more important predictors of success than grades and test scores. Education today is missing Focus and passion in the classroom, and purpose outside the school. We are committed to honoring the God-given gifts and passions that raise school work to purpose-filled, life-long education.

NBNY Goals & Outcomes
The long-term goals of the program are to enable Native youth to lead positive, successful lives and ultimately serve and lead their communities into a new era of not only sovereignty, but also robust economic, social and political health. Youth learn about:

How their personality and style can be most effective within the group
How this self knowledge leads to confidence and better leadership through public speaking skills
Effective ways to operate in the greater society while remaining true to their culture
Ways to mobilize community resources to make a difference.
The inner workings of tribal governments

As a result of this program, Native youth return home emboldened to solve critical community problems and needs. They are able to put important new skills to work to change their own lives while improving the lives of others. What is more, Native communities gain services from the youth and their advisors. The adult advisors receive training and materials that help them in their future work in their community, and the community gains an opportunity to view youth in new ways as partners they can trust and respect.

NBNY Institutes Create A Virtual Community. . .
Both youth who are "natural" leaders and those with "potential" work in teams or clans. The focus is on increasing self-awareness and working more effectively in groups. No two members of one tribe are in the same clan.

NBNY Interweaves. . .
Subject matter content dealing with tribal government and leadership development with. . . - Harvard Model + Youth for Tribal Government curricula - Carefully crafted leadership messages and skills practice (individual, group, community) - The Search Institutes 40 Developmental Assets™ and the DiSC™ Behavioral Styles Inventory.

NBNY Achieves Results Through. . .

  • Hands-on team building and problem-solving

  • Adult and peer mentoring

  • Inspirational speakers (tribal elected leaders and staff, athletes)

  • Service learning projects

  • Group projects and presentations dealing with current-day tribal issues

  • Continual reflection, feedback and affirmation

  • Daily reflection activities

  • Awards & celebration

NBNY Develops. . .

  • Self-awareness & personal empowerment

  • Understanding of others (team empowerment)

  • Coping skills

  • Dealing with feeling "SHY" "UNCOMFORTABLE" "DIFFERENT" or "SEPARATE"

  • Communication skills

  • Future goals, including education & vocational

  • Future tribal/community leaders

Through a best-practices framework that is spiritually and culturally relevant, NBNY participants are given permission to step into a new place and realize that they are the future of Indian Country! A remarkable amount of NBNY graduates discover a profound confidence and self assurance to step into pro active roles of real impact and influence.

How NBNY Stands Out
regularly receives a high 9.5+ out of ten from adult advisors and youth. It distinguishes itself from other Native youth programs as follows:

  • Statistically significant positive change on the Search Institute′s Developmental Assets Profile™

  • Small size, high ratio of mentors to students

  • High quality resource materials that can be used in the community

  • Focus on leadership for nation building and community development

  • High quality, carefully blended, multi-faceted curriculum designed and presented by professionals who are leaders in their fields PLUS participants receive continual feedback and can sense their progress and growth throughout the Institute!

NBNY institutes are the only program that provide training for adult advisors along side the youth.
In an open-ended question about personal goals, 70% of NBNY youth comment that they now understand the importance of education. 67% say they are committed to pursuing higher education.

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