Top Ten Moments For Community Engagement This Year

Top Ten Moments For Community Engagement This Year

by Cary Watters, Tlingit, Community Engagement Manager

NAYA’s Community Engagement Department has been busy over this past year. Advocacy work, leadership development, community conversations and volunteer coordination all keep us inspired and honored to serve this amazing community. Below we give you our ranking of the top 10 Community Engagement moments from this past year.

#10 – Jim Francesconi visits Portland Youth & Elders Council


While Jim did not win the race for Multnomah County Chair, we greatly appreciated his dedication in reaching out to our community. Jim joined us to discuss our shared priorities during our annual alcohol-free PYEC networking night in April.

#9 – PSU students present recommendations for PYEC Video Storytelling Project


Portland State University is a great community partner! Dr. Kelly Gonzales, Cherokee, offered her Native Community Health students as a resource to Portland Youth & Elders Council. They really stepped up to the plate in providing a framework for our planning process for our Video Storytelling Project. Let us know if you’d like to get involved by contacting Cary Watters (Tlingit) at 503.288.8177, ext. 331 or

#8 – Tabling at the Delta Park Powwow


While NAYA enjoyed tabling at several community events, the Delta Park Powwow is always a huge highlight! Pictured here, Family Services staff enjoy interacting with community members on Saturday afternoon.

#7 – Seed scattering ceremony at Comcast Cares Day/Earth Day Work Party


It is crucial that we incorporate the spiritual quadrant of the Relational Worldview Model into all that we do. Pictured here, Judy Bluehorse Skelton, Nez Perce, hands out wildflower seeds to volunteers to scatter on site prior to our other work party activities.

#6 – Advocacy at the Coalition of Communities of Color Multnomah County Budget Forum


Community members and staff made their presence known and voices heard at this important forum! Pictured here, 2013-14 LEAD Cohort Member Natalie Mitchell, Potawatomi Nation, advocates for the County to invest in leadership development work for communities of color.

#5 – NAYA Seedling Soiree 2014


In order to prepare for our Earth Day work party, Elders, NAYA staff and other community members joined in planting some seedlings. Lilah Walsh and Lawrence Dauphinais, Turtle Mtn. Chippewa, were among the many participants.

#4 – PYEC Annual BBQ


We held our July meeting outside in the Tillicum House with delicious BBQ, inspiring discussion and fun for all. An unidentified individual brought squirt guns and the Elders had a blast!

#3 – Oregon LEAD Program 2013-14 Cohort Graduation


LEAD Cohort 2013-14 members, Elders and other community members gathered in Ecotrust’s Billy Frank, Jr. Conference Center to celebrate our emerging and evolving leaders to make positive change in our community! Keep an eye out for our 2014-15 Cohort!

#2 – Community Conversation on Mascots


As a member of the Native Voice Network, the NAYA Family Center and Portland Youth & Elders Council held two community conversations on the contentious and timely topic of Native mascotry. Contact us if you would like to be a part of this ongoing conversation!

#1 – Memorial planting for Elder Harold Chester


Nanci Luna Jimenez donated this Rocky Mountain Glow Maple tree in early Spring 2014. It just so happened that the Elders had hoped to acquire a deciduous tree to use as a ceremonial honoring, so it was one of those Spirit-led moments! Harold’s grandchildren were able to be there, along with Elders and NAYA staff. Please visit the tree sometime in the Southeast Shaded Grove and let us know if you would like to volunteer to help maintain the area!