Jul 25, 2023
GO! Lake County and Flathead Nation: Grantees in Action
Leaders in rural areas in Western Montana are cultivating the untapped potential and dreams of youth in unique and powerful ways. In Lake County and the Flathead Nation, nonprofits are working to meet basic needs, provide arts education, preserve and perpetuate Native language and culture and more, making a significant impact on the health and futures of kids, their families, and communities.
Headwaters Foundation is proud to support this work through GO! Grants, which we launched in 2018 to make funding accessible to nonprofits serving kids and families in rural areas through a simple, quick turnaround process. Organizations in Lake County and the Flathead Nation have been awarded more GO! Grants than those in any other area, especially those dedicated to supporting Native youth.
In this blog, we spotlight five GO! Grant recipients from Lake County and the Flathead Reservation and their innovative programs that are igniting pathways to health and celebrating the vibrant cultures of youth and their families.
Snqʷeyłmistn translates from the Salish language to ‘the place where you do your best.’ Snqʷeyłmistn recognizes that a vital connection to place fosters self-awareness and a strong cultural foundation. Through experiential learning and the preservation of traditional lifeways, they cultivate Indigenous community resilience. Their diverse programs encompass teachings on survival skills, traditional crafting, mindfulness, Salish language and emotional intelligence. By nurturing these essential aspects, Snqʷeyłmistn aims to restore cultural identity and empower individuals to thrive within their heritage.
A VOICE – Art Vision and Outreach in Community Education fosters individual, group, community and cultural vision and expression through art, outreach, and education. They provide arts programming led by experienced artists and authors for youth in rural Tribal communities on the Flathead Nation who may not have had such opportunities. Their programs aim to instill skills, confidence and a love for the arts and provide participants with the tools to become expressive art makers, moving storytellers and engaged citizens.
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a national organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children. The Lake County chapter of CASA works to ensure that every child in their community has a safe, permanent and nurturing home environment, and coordinates trained volunteers to work closely with kids involved in the foster care system. They prioritize early intervention to prevent devastating outcomes for children, by offering parenting classes as well as a safe and neutral space for supervised visits.
Helping Hands empowers and encourages a transformation of lifestyle with an understanding of cultures and individuals in a way that demonstrates love and acceptance. They are a community resource that addresses the immediate needs of individuals and families by providing vouchers, supplies, food assistance, transportation support, and more. They also work to address long-term needs through resource referrals and guidance toward self-sufficiency. One of their key activities is the Community Cradle Project, which provides care packages to new parents on the Flathead Reservation.
Nk̓ʷusm Salish Language School is dedicated to preserving the Salish and Qlispe languages among Native youth on the Flathead Reservation. Their immersive programs and classes foster fluency, cultural knowledge, and intergenerational transmission. Through engaging school-based and community activities, Nk̓ʷusm creates a supportive environment where families can connect with the language. By increasing teaching materials, involving the community and reviving parent-to-child language transmission, Nk̓ʷusm contributes to the revitalization of the Salish language.
Thank you to these organizations for their vital work to improve the health and wellbeing of youth and families in their communities! We encourage you to check out their websites, follow them on social media and support them with your time and treasure.