WESTCHESTER, NEW YORK – April 23, 2015 — As part of a comprehensive U.S. Government initiative, ANDRUS was invited as one of the experts to attend a White House convening on April 8, 2015, to discuss ways to remove the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. ANDRUS’ Bryan R. Murphy, President and CEO, and Kerron D. Norman, Vice President, Community Services and Government Relations, were joined by nonprofit and philanthropic leaders, tribal leaders, Native youth and members of the President’s Cabinet. The conference included key remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama, panel discussions and breakout sessions.
“The experience was both heart-wrenching and exhilarating,” said Mr. Murphy. “The stories shared by First Lady Michelle Obama and other speakers underscored the despair and tragedy often encountered by Native youth. These are the same issues that confront the adolescents and teens we serve – loss, poverty, generational challenges, violence, trauma, racism and bullying. Yet, pervasive in many of the stories was pride, courage and determination.”
Based on ANDRUS’ work locally, across the country and around the globe, Mr. Murphy added, “Working together, we know that communities can be strengthened, youth and families healed and futures made hopeful. We are committed to help in any way we can. In fact, we will be seeking opportunities to support local native communities using our Sanctuary approach, which fosters sustainable change to create a safe place for people who need healing as well as a safe place for those who offer the care. This model includes our trauma informed professional development, culturally competent mental health services and family engagement program.”
In her remarks, First Lady Michelle Obama urged attendees to join in the effort to help Native youth. She said, “So we all need to work together to invest deeply — and for the long-term — in these young people, both those who are living in their tribal communities… and those living in urban areas across this country. These kids have so much promise — and we need to ensure that they have every tool, every opportunity they need to fulfill that promise.”
The conference built upon the Generation Indigenous (Gen I) Initiative that was launched by President Obama on December 3, 2014. Through new investments and increased engagement, this effort takes a comprehensive, culturally appropriate approach to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. The Gen-I Native Youth Challenge invites Native youth and organizations across the country to become a part of the Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative by joining the National Native Youth Network — a White House effort in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth and the U.S. Department of the Interior.
In addition to the National Native Youth Network, the Gen-I Initiative includes a demonstration program called the Native Youth Community Projects, administered by the Department of Education, a restructuring of the Bureau of Indian Education, a Cabinet Native Youth Listening Tour, and the organization of the first ever White House Tribal Youth Gathering.
Andrus nurtures the social and emotional well-being in children and their families by delivering a broad range of vital services and by providing research, training and innovative program models that promote standards of excellence for professional performance in and beyond our service community. With programs on campus, in schools and within community-based settings throughout Westchester County, the nonprofit reaches 5,000 children and families each year from the New York Metropolitan area. Andrus also operates the Andrus Center for Learning and Innovation (ACLI) and The ANDRUS Sanctuary Institute, which has provided training and consultation to over 300 organizations worldwide in the use of a trauma-sensitive model for treatment and organizational change.