Reconnecting through culture

Reconnecting through culture

The wonderful return of NAYA’s Foster Care Sibling and Family Enrichment Nights.

After a hiatus due to COVID-19, NAYA is proud to announce the return of its Foster Care Sibling and Family Nights, offering a unique opportunity for siblings and families in the foster care system to reconnect through enriching cultural experiences and activities.

For Native American youth navigating the foster care system, maintaining connections with siblings and family members can be a challenge. Recognizing the importance of preserving these bonds, NAYA’s Foster Care Sibling Family Enrichment Visit Nights provide a nurturing environment where siblings can come together, share experiences, and rekindle their connection to their cultural heritage.

Central to the program are a variety of culturally enriching experiences and activities designed to foster a sense of belonging and identity. With activities like making Alaska Native keychains, dreamcatchers, rain sticks, and traditional pottery, and participating in Cultural Enrichment Group Events like rock climbing, bowling, and ice skating, participants have the opportunity to explore their culture and be in community together.

Through these shared experiences, siblings and families not only strengthen their bond with each other but also deepen their connection to their cultures. By embracing cultural traditions and teachings, participants gain a renewed sense of pride and identity, empowering them to navigate the challenges of the foster care system with resilience and strength.

NAYA’s Suite of Foster Care Services

NAYA’s Foster Care Services offers four distinct programs that help ensure Native youth live in homes that provide stability, a place to practice culture, and a connection to community.

NAYA’s Foster Care Support helps youth in state and tribal foster care systems access fun community-based events, including activities such as beading, drawing, and painting. Our popular activities include Sibling Family Enrichment Visit Nights, and Cultural Enrichment Group, which provide foster youth and families a safe place to gather, reconnect, and catch up with each other.

KEEP support groups provide parenting skills to foster parents caring for Native youth across the state. KEEP groups take place in a cohort model over a 16-week period, and the connections participants gain can alleviate feelings of seclusion while staff keeps culture at the forefront.

Pathways to Adulthood Independent Living Program is designed to provide life skills for foster youth, 14–21 years old, as they transition out of care. Youth meet monthly with an advocate to work on life goals around education, employment, housing, health, transportation, parenting skills, and much more.

Parenting in 2 Worlds is a 10-week, culturally specific, and collaborative group that provides biological families with information and resources to keep their children safely in their homes. Once the curriculum is completed, parents can access an additional six months of family support through case management.

In the spirit of National Foster Care Awareness Month and as always, NAYA continues its vital work of advocating for Native American youth and families in the foster care system. Through education, outreach, and wraparound supports, we strive to assure that our youth have the opportunity to grow and thrive in the embrace of their community.

50YR Fun Fact: With more than 25 years, NAYA’s Pathways to Adulthood Independent Living Program (ILP) is our longest-standing contracted foster care program. With the number of Native youth in the foster care system, its all the more important to provide them with the opportunity to build the skills they need to succeed on their own.