Paint and Sip brings out inner artist for Girl’s Talking Circle

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of event coordinator and para-pro, Monica Holmes 

On the afternoon of Friday, September 29, the popular Paint and Sip experience came to Tulalip’s own Girl’s Talking Circle. Eight aspiring young ladies had the unique opportunity to create their own masterpiece on canvas while sipping sparkling cider and enjoying fancy snacks.

The Paint and Sip activity provided both our youth Girl’s Talking Circle and their family members with an opportunity to explore their creative side. They learned to hone their artistic skills, like utilizing color for effect, balancing light and dark, adding shapes, dimension and perspective, and taking risks to personalize art in order to make it their own.

Hosted by Tulalip Youth Services and Behavioral Health’s MSPI Program, and held at the Kenny Moses Building, Paint and Sip was a creative way of engaging with female youth ages 11-18+. The mother, aunties, grandmas or female guardians of participating youth were also invited to participate. There ended up being two pairs of mother/daughter duos attending.

“One mother-daughter duo in particular really exemplified unity and support,” explains event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “Amy and Kelsey Sheldon reached out to us early on to see if we could create an inclusive activity that Kelsey could participate in. Kelsey has Autism and rarely has opportunities to interact with other young women her age with or without disabilities.

“Understanding the challenges Kelsey might face in groups, we felt including her mother Amy would be an important first step into helping Kelsey feel at ease in a group of new people. Sitting beside one another and working together on an art project helped to focus her attention to the task at hand. The finished product both mother and daughter created and the positive experiences they had, proves that kids with challenges and disabilities can benefit from more inclusion in community sponsored activities. MSPI (Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative) is working to push forward with even more tailored inclusive activities in which all youth can gain skills, camaraderie and connection to their heritage and community.”

For most of the girls Paint and Sip provided the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents on canvas for the very first time. Under the guidance of art instructor Irina Johnson from Vine and Palette, everyone painted their own rendition of sea turtles swimming in the ocean under a bright summer sun.

“Art teaches you to look at nature and everything around you through different eyes,” says artist Irina on the importance of experiencing art. “You look for details, texture, and color in a way that makes you appreciate all those things you generally ignore and take for granted. For example, how many colors can you spot in a leaf when the sun is setting, or what are all the textures in a tree branch, or the intricate details in a single blade of grass. All these little things add up to a greater awareness of our world and our reality. In this sense, art makes us appreciate life that much more.”

An eloquent description for sure, but for 11-year-old Tieriana McLean she puts it much simpler, “I came here because I just like painting.” What more need be said?

The Girl’s Talking Circle meets every Friday from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Youth Center.  They do hands-on arts and crafts, explore cultural identity, focus on personal, team and community building, have speakers from the Tribe teach their wisdom, and go on fieldtrips to explore, learn and grow.

For more information about the Girl’s Talking Circle please contact Monica Holmes at 360-631-3406 or email: mholmes@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Girls Group gains leadership experience in D.C.

Tulalip Girls Group members Elizabeth Edelman and Priscilla Bumgarner, along with chaperone Sasha Smith, Family Haven Project Coordinator. The girls were chosen to participate in the trip based on overall participation and attendance in the Girls Group.

Tulalip Girls Group members Elizabeth Edelman and Priscilla Bumgarner, along with chaperone Sasha Smith, Family Haven Project Coordinator. The girls were chosen to participate in the trip based on overall participation and attendance in the Girls Group.

 

By Micheal Rios,Tulalip News;  photos courtesy of Sasha Smith, Tulalip Family Haven Project Coordinator

 

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) held its 26th annual National Leadership Forum and Prevention Days at the Maryland Convention Center during February 1 – 4. CADCA is the national membership organization representing over 5,000 coalitions and affiliates working to make America’s community safe, healthy and drug-free.

Count Tulalip among those communities represented by CADCA, as Tulalip tribal members Elizabeth Edelman and Priscilla Bumgarner attended this year’s leadership forum. Elizabeth and Priscilla, both 15 years old, were afforded the opportunity to attend thanks to their frequent participation in Girls Group.

Girls Group, comprised of young Native women ages 14-17, is designed through Tulalip Family Haven and is located next to the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. Girls Group aims to provide Native girls the support they need to become the most successful person they can be.

“In selecting the two young ladies to take to the prevention conference and tour Washington, D.C., we based the decision off of overall participation and best attendance at Girls Group,” says Sasha Smith, Project Coordinator at Family Haven, who chaperoned Elizabeth and Priscilla on their trip. “These girls were so excited to get the chance to travel. Elizabeth had never been on an airplane before and neither had ever been so far from home without their parents”

 

WA D.C 3

 

The young ladies spent four days in Maryland and Washington, D.C. learning about reducing drug and alcohol use in their community, how to be a positive and supporting leader, and gaining life experiences on the other side of the country. They received helpful information about different groups and communities who have been successful in reducing substance abuse.

“Better environment, better future,” recalls Elizabeth is the line that really stood out from the seminars she attended. “It’s so true. If nobody cared about their surroundings and the environment then things can’t get better, they’ll only get worse. If you care about your future then you’ll care about your environment, who and what you have around you.”

A project they got to participate in, and may even do here at home, was a sticker project. The youth, armed with message carrying stickers, went around to local liquor stores and convenient stores placing stickers on alcohol products, as a way to remind buyers that underage drinking and purchasing for minor is illegal.

Another idea they participated in was being part of a high school student panel dubbed the Myth Busters. They held a Q & A session for middle school students who are in transition to high school. The middle schoolers were able to ask any and all questions they had about the high school experience, most of which were debunked as myths by the current high schoolers.

Of all their experiences during the four days away from home, the most lasting was getting a guided tour of the capital, which included taking a three hour night tour of all the historical monuments.

 

While touring the capital, the girls also visited the Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

While touring the capital, the girls also visited the Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.

 

“The entire experience was pretty cool. Being out of here and off the rez everything was new, it felt like a vacation,” said Elizabeth. “Touring the capital and seeing the Lincoln Memorial was most memorable for me. And learning about Billy Frank, Jr. He has his own exhibit in the Museum [of the American Indian].”

Girls Group meets every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30p.m. – 6:30p.m. and is free to join. For more information on the Family Haven Girls Group or how to sign up, please contact project coordinator Sasha Smith at 360-716-4404.

 

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Girls Group boosts teens self-esteem

Tatiana Bumgarner is joined by younger sister Priscilla as they show off their summer scrapbook full of photos they have taken during the groups field trips. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tatiana Bumgarner is joined by younger sister Priscilla as they show off their summer scrapbook full of photos they have taken during the groups field trips.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Native teen girls, age 14-17, have been busy this summer at the Tulalip Family Haven’s Girl Group building pride in their accomplishments as well as building self-esteem.

The group provides teen girls the support they need to become the most successful person they can be. Using the “Canoe Journey, Life’s Journey” curriculum guide by June LaMarr and G. Alan Marlatt, the young women are taught to make choices that promote positive actions and learn to avoid the hazards of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Fifteen-year-old Jaylin Rivera plans to be a teacher and one day serve on the Tulalip Council. She says the girls group has been instrumental in helping her prepare for college and enjoys the mentoring and support from staff. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Fifteen-year-old Jaylin Rivera plans to be a teacher and one day serve on the Tulalip Council. She says the girls group has been instrumental in helping her prepare for college and enjoys the mentoring and support from staff.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

To promote positive experiences, the group has participated in a whirlwind of summer activities that have included a rope course to teach overcoming one’s fears and learning to trust, a tour of the University of Washington campus to learn college preparation, a chance to watch basketball star Shoni Shimmel at a Storm’s Game played in Seattle –a reward for good group attendance and a visit to listen the Seattle Pixar Symphony, among others.

“Our mission is to help girls experience and learn life skills to help them through their teen years. We want to build positive memories and confidence so they can be successful in their goals,” said Sasha Smith, Girls Group lead youth advocate.

Girls Group is held Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Family Haven building across from the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. Transportation is available. For more information about the Girls Group, please contact them at 360-716-4404.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com