The program, which has been in existence since the 1970’s has 43 employees this summer, according to Summer Youth Employment Coordinator Apollo Davenport. “the youth apply for jobs in the spring and are “matched up” with 13 different Tribe departments by specific needs of the department,” said Davenport. The program is funded entirely with tribal resources.
The eight-week program is designed to help Meskwaki young people decide on career choices. Also, during the eight weeks, they attend seminars such as an Employment Success Seminar, which shows the young people how to be good competitors in the workforce.
They also participate in a Health Fair that stresses safe sex education and healthy lifestyle choices like diet and being substance free. The Meskwaki Higher Education Department works with the youth to help them decide on a career path, such as college or entering the workforce.
The program is designed for 14-21 year old youth, who in turn work with 9-12 year old Meskwaki youth to help them with their culture and language skills and participate with them in sports and art activities. They also work with the Meskwaki Senior Services to provide help to the Meskwaki elderly residents.
So far this summer, in addition to work done on the settlement, the program has sent youth to the Pinnacle Bank in Marshalltown to paint lines on the parking lot and helped Toledo first ward Travis Mullen spread wood chips on the trail at the Toledo City Park. Mullen is alos an employee of the Meskwaki Tribe, working in the Higher Education Department. “We also plan to go to Des Moines to work at a homeless shelter some day this summer,” said Davenport.
Meskwaki Tribe Summer Youth Employment employees worked Friday, June 18, helping Toledo first ward council member Travis Mullen to spread wood chips on the walking trail at the Toledo City Park. Those working were clockwise from left: Denny Crow, Alexah Mauskemo, Mullen, Jordan Thompson, program supervisor, Benny Benson, Taylor Johnson, Sean Bear, Jay Bear, Miles Lasley, Muranda Kapayou, Devon Ward, Jaden Davenport and Kadyn Clark. Chronicle/Charley Townsley