November is National Native American Heritage Month and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona is proud to celebrate the rich and diverse culture, traditions, contributions and histories of Native people across Arizona throughout this month and beyond. BBBSAZ recognizes we are on the ancestral homelands of the Akimel O’Odham and Piipash people and proudly serves our surrounding Native American communities, youth, families and volunteers.
Indigenous littles doing BIG things!
We are excited to highlight and feature several Indigenous youth that have been Littles matched to Bigs in our program, along with updates on the amazing ways they are making big moves and giving back to their communities.
Audri and Bobbi
Audri (Colorado River Indian Tribes) was matched to her Big Sister Bobbi (Diné) at 9 years old and stayed matched in the program until she graduated high school in 2016. Since then, Audri has been actively involved with United National Indian Tribal Youth, Inc. (UNITY) as a 25 under 25 awardee, Female Co-President, Earth Ambassador and Peer Guide. Audri competed, was crowned and represented well, holding titles as Miss Colorado River Indian Tribes 2018-2019 and as Miss Indian Arizona 2019-2020.
Sareya and Hannah
Sareya (White Mountain Apache/Diné) was matched to their Big Sister Hannah (Diné) in our Big Futures program until they graduated High School in 2020. Since then, Sareya has served as the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Phoenix, as a member of the International Indigenous Youth Council and was recognized as a UNITY 25 under 25 youth leader. Sareya is a poet, sharing an important Indigenous perspective, and currently attends the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.
Kai-se and Sam
Kai-se (Diné) was matched to his Big Brother Sam (Hopi) in our Future Inspired Native American Leaders program, a partnership with Phoenix Indian Center, in 2016. Kai-se is currently a Senior at Arizona State University and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in BioMedical Sciences next spring. Kai-se is also an Obama Scholar, Research Aide and active member of the Native American Business Organization at ASU. Kai-se’s long term goals include becoming a Genetic Counselor and helping to increase equal representation in the STEM and medical fields.
Nakiesha and Tyra
Nakiesha (Diné) was matched to her Big Sister Tyra in our afterschool site based program at Emerson Elementary serving our urban Native American youth in 2014 and later became a high school Big Sister in the same program to her little sister Gracie. Today, Nakiesha is a student at Mesa Community College studying political science and is the Vice President of the Intertribal Student Organization.
We are very proud of our featured littles and all our Indigenous youth that we have been blessed to know and support over the years. Each of you are making your mark in the world and we will continue to cheer you on. A big shout out also to all our Bigs that have and continue to give of their time and energy to help guide our youth into adulthood.
Ahe’hee | Asquali/Kwah’kwa | Ahéhye’e | Thank you