In Case of Emergency: CERT trainings prepare Tulalip for Disaster

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Disasters strike at any given moment. Whether it’s weather, like the recent snowstorm in the Pacific Northwest, earthquakes, forest fires or tsunamis, it’s important to be prepared for natural disasters to ensure the safety and survival for yourself, your family and community. Twice a year, the Tulalip Tribes Office of Emergency Management hosts Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainings at the Tulalip Administration Building. The course teaches local citizens how to be prepared and how to respond when an unexpected emergency or disaster occurs. Twenty community members recently began their eleven-week CERT journey to help provide a safer tomorrow for Tulalip.

“Throughout this course, you will become more self-reliant and be able to help your community base,” Tulalip Emergency Preparedness Manager, Ashlynn Danielson, explained to the class.  “When a disaster strikes, everyone would like help from professional first responders immediately, but the reality is, bridges can be down and roads can be closed. How many times have we had a windstorm where Marine Drive had several trees down and PUD couldn’t get to us for hours? Our overall goal is to create a more resilient community. We want you to have tools and knowledge to be able to set a shelter in place and be able to help thy neighbor and move forward from there.”

The course is an extensive, interactive program where students must pass a series of tests and emergency drills in order to graduate and receive a certified CERT certificate. The trainings cover fire safety, medical operation and triage, team organization, utility control, and damage assessment as well as search and rescue. Students also assemble their own go-bags, or survival kits, to take home and are encouraged to make go-bags with their families.

“A go-bag is essential and needs to be on hand in case of an emergency,” states CERT Trainer, Eric Cortez. “Your go-bag covers your basic human needs as far as security, shelter, food, water, medical and all the essentials. Go-bags are different for everybody because everyone has different needs. What I normally carry is a knife. I always keep a cutting tool on me because it’s useful. You can do a lot with a cutting tool; you can manufacture other items to make your survival situation better. I also carry a flashlight. A flashlight is used often and it’s the first form of security in most situations. And a bandana for medical purposes.”

In emergency situations, when medical attention is required but cannot be accessed, CERT trainees learn how to provide basic medical assistance until first responders arrive. Students also learn how to properly inspect their neighborhoods for any extensive damage, hazardous areas or injuries to their neighbors; and conduct detailed reports for the proper authorities.

“[CERT] is important to our community because our rez is long,” states CERT student and Tulalip tribal member, Margie Santibanez. “We need to have a plan in place for everybody to be checked on. I think more tribal members need to attend these classes, especially because we have so many housing developments. We need to make sure our people are safe, our elders are safe, our youth are safe and if anyone needs help we can figure out a way as a community.”

“We’ve always been survivors as Indigenous Peoples, so why not be even more prepared?” said Eric. “We survive as a Tribe, we prosper as a Tribe and can get through anything together as a Tribe.”

Current CERT students will complete their training and graduate this spring. The Office of Emergency Management is currently in the process of developing a Teen CERT training program and will begin their next CERT trainings in the Fall. For more details, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at (360) 716-4006.

Heritage Hawks finish 4th at Tri-Districts,  on to Regionals

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

After defeating Pope John Paul II in the opening round of the Tri-District Tournament, the Tulalip Heritage Hawks (20-4) had two days to prepare for the #1 ranked Muckleshoot Kings. The game was played at Evergreen Lutheran H.S. in Tacoma on Thursday, February 15.

Muckleshoot entered the game riding a 15-game winning streak and had earned the #1 seed in the tournament. Meanwhile, Tulalip was coming off an exciting home win, but they would be without two key contributors in Nashone Whitebear (ankle) and Paul Shay, Jr. (personal).

In the early going, the Hawks held their own especially on the defensive end where they did a stellar job of keeping the high-octane Muckleshoot offense at bay. Muckleshoot averages 90 points per game and has hung a 100+ on five teams during the regular season. At the end of the 1st quarter, Tulalip trailed 7-14.

In the 2nd quarter, the Hawks would get to within five points, 9-14, but then the defense that had been doing such a good job containing Muckleshoot finally gave way. In only a matter of minutes the Kings went on a 24-3 tear to end the 2nd quarter. Tulalip didn’t have the fire power to mount a comeback and without a full squad it was difficult enough to keep players from exhausting themselves on defense. Tulalip would lose the game 51-88. Josh Iukes led his team with 13 points, while Isaac Comenote added 9 points.

Nothing helps a team forget a loss like returning to the court and getting a W, and the very next day, February 16, the Hawks played Mt. Rainier Lutheran in an epic clash. After a back and forth 1st quarter that saw the teams go bucket for bucket, the score was tied 15-15.

Mt. Rainier got the Hawks in foul trouble and was knocking down their free-throws. The Hawks repeatedly sending their opponent to the free-throw line had put them in a 33-40 hole entering the final quarter. But in the 4th quarter, when it mattered most, the Hawks responded with one of their best stretches of basketball. They were contesting everything on defense and did it without fouling, while on offense Josh Iukes was controlling the tempo and finding his guys for in rhythm buckets. The Hawks won the 4th quarter 19-7 to pull off a crucial 52-47 comeback. Josh led all players in scoring with 17 points.

The victory over Mt. Rainier Lutheran put the Heritage Hawks in the 3rd/4th place game where they would once again play the Lions from Cedar Park Christian. On the year Tulalip had only lost four games and of those four, three had come at the hands of Cedar Park. The inside presence of two strong post players and a highly talented guard had been too much for the Hawks to handle in their previous matchups. Would the fourth time be the charm?

The answer would be no. The Hawks put up a good fight in the 1st half, matching the intensity of Cedar Park. The boys played their best quarter in terms of defense against Cedar Park standout Erwin Weary, holding him to zero buckets in the 1st quarter. That being said, Tulalip still trailed 21-31 at halftime. Then Erwin and Cedar Park got hot in the 3rd quarter to put the game away. Tulalip was outscored 12-25 in the 3rd quarter and went on to lose the game, 50-68.

Even with the loss, the Heritage Hawks had finished 4th in the Tri-District Tournament and clinched a berth in Regionals. They will play on Saturday, February 24, at 2:00p.m. at Jackson High School in Mill Creek. Their opponent is Pope John Paul II, a team the Hawks have already beaten once this year. If they win again, then they’ll be on to State.

Season comes to an end for Lady Hawks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

For the third straight year, the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks basketball team (17-6) made it out of Districts and into the Tri-District Tournament. After losing an opening round game to Clallam Bay, 55-63, the Tulalip girls packed up and traveled to Evergreen Lutheran H.S. in Tacoma. There they would matchup with the Rainier Christian Mustangs in a loser-out game played on Thursday, February 15.

In the 1st quarter, the Lady Hawks took some time getting adjusted to the Mustang defense. Not scoring as they are accustomed to, they still managed to keep the game close by playing top-notch defense of their own. Midway through the quarter it was a tie score, 5-5, before the Mustangs went on a 6-0 run to take an 11-5 lead.

During the 2nd quarter, the Lady Hawks made a concentrated effort to get the ball inside and play through their forwards, Deandra Grant and Krislyn Parks. They both responded by making some buckets in a crowded painted area. Midway through the 2nd quarter, the game was again tied, this time 11-11. A pair of Krislyn free-throws would be the only remaining points for the Lady Hawks in the 1st half, who trailed 13-16 at halftime.

The 2nd half was one to forget as the Lady Hawks just weren’t able to solve the Mustangs defense. Tulalip scored only 9 points the entire 2nd half and saw their season come to an end with a 22-38 loss. Deandra and Krislyn each scored 9 points to lead their team.

Following the loss, the Lady Hawks remained upbeat and proud of all that they had accomplished during the season. After starting 0-3 on the year, they bounced back going a perfect 12-0 in league play, and were only a couple buckets shy of taking 1st place at the District Tournament.

Senior standouts, Keryn Parks and Deanda, ran a lethal two-man game all season that resulted in each of them routinely having big games. Up until the Tri-District Tournament they hadn’t seen a team have the size and athleticism to slow them down. The two captains took a moment to speak on the achievements made this season and how the team had grown.

“The beginning of the season was weird because we went through three different coaches, from Bubba to Tina then switching to Tempest. The changes were drastic and we really didn’t play well together at the start,” reflected senior forward, Deandra Grant. “Towards the middle of the season we starting working well together and our game plan finally clicked. Then by the end of the regular season we really got to connect with each other and that showed in our play. Overall, we improved so much as a team from where we started and we did pretty well in the playoffs.

“My favorite moment of the season came in our last game. Even though it was a playoff loss, while we were losing we still kept our spirits up and showed heart. We didn’t want the season to end and if we lost we knew we were giving it our all.”

Senior guard, Keryn Parks, added, “I felt we grew a lot as a team, especially towards the end and in the playoffs. Yes, we took three losses to end our season, but during that time we came together as a team and worked on our mental game. We did thought exercises and talked about our mindsets in order to become stronger mentally.

“Our three coaches, Tina, Katia, and Tempest did a really good job coaching us all throughout the season. I give props to Tina for pushing us to perform in the classroom and on the basketball court. She wants to see us succeed at school as students, and that really means a lot to us. I appreciate Tempest coming in and, for not knowing any of us girls, she built us up individually. She worked with us one-on-one and showed us how to be better players. Throughout the entire season as a coaching staff they pushed us to do better every single game, in practice, and in the classroom.”

SNAP-Ed offers fun, interactive nutrition course to Tulalip community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

When you see a class hosted by the Tulalip SNAP-Ed Program it’s safe to say you can expect a little fun and often times, some good eats. The program offers education about nutrition and the importance of exercise, encouraging community members to live healthier lifestyles. SNAP-Ed is known for their Tulalip Walking Club that meets each week to walk about the reservation and their Wellness Wednesdays classes, formerly held at the Tulalip Administration Building. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the activities or perhaps it’s the prizes, but whatever it is, the participants of a SNAP-Ed training have a good time, showcased by their many smiles and laughter. Which is why it’s no surprise that SNAP-Ed’s most recent endeavor is extremely popular.

If you haven’t heard of the Eat Smart, Be Active, Nutrition and Cooking course, you’re going to want to get in line for the next series of classes so you can experience the nine-week health journey in its entirety. Classes are currently held every Wednesday, until March 21, from 5:00 p.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Tulalip Dining Hall where the students are gaining much of knowledge about buying, preparing and consuming healthy meals.

Tribal communities nationwide face health issues such as diabetes and hypertension due largely in part to assimilation and a disconnect from traditional foods. Whether its lack of time or kitchen knowledge, many Americans end up hitting the drive-thru or placing an Uber Eats order at the end of the day.

The Eat Smart, Be Active course not only teaches participants how to cook, it also teaches how to meal plan, put together a budget-friendly grocery list, the nutritional value of foods and how to incorporate more veggies into your diet. The classes also include exercise breaks throughout the daily lesson plan, which the students enthusiastically participate in.

“There are four really important exercises that you need to know,” explains SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen. “You need to know muscle strengthening exercises, cardio, stretching or yoga and also bone strengthening exercises. Today we did a cardio pyramid which is a series of exercises to get our heart rate up, get fresh oxygen to the brain and wake us up a little bit.

“We’re all about promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. We’re trying to teach people different ways to prevent disease before it starts happening,” she continues. “I personally believe that it all starts with diet and exercise. Food is medicine. The food that we eat determines our health and our future; food affects our mood spiritually, mentally and physically. All good things come from eating good, healthy foods.”

After their daily nutritional lesson, the students enter the kitchen where they work together to prepare a meal. SNAP-Ed incorporates fresh ingredients with hand-picked produce and also raffles off reusable grocery bags filled with ingredients that the students can use to make recipes at home.

“I come to the classes to learn more about being healthy and being active,” states Tulalip tribal member, Tyler Fryberg. “I like everything in the class because it’s all useful. The exercises are fun. I enjoy cooking, it’s fun making new recipes. It’s just a really fun class.”

Fun might be the best way to describe the Eat Smart, Be Active course as Tyler’s views were shared by a group of co-workers from the Tulalip Resort Casino as well as numerous community members.

“These nine weeks focus on important areas where we can make changes in our life, to make a positive impact on our health and our overall well-being,” states AnneCherise. “There’s lots of one-on-one activities, everybody gets to cook, we learn new things and try new recipes. It’s a great program to get a fresh new start on a journey to a healthier you.”

For more information, including how to sign-up for the next course, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.

C.R.E.A.T.E. Space brings out the smiles while promoting mental health awareness

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Youth Services celebrated “Say Hello Week” with an added focus of taking the stigma out of mental health awareness. The week included a variety of learning activities for the children and teenagers of the community. The biggest event was without a doubt the open house and grand opening of the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space on Friday, February 2.

From 10:00am-6:30pm on that Friday, the 2nd floor of the Youth Center was a destination for celebration and hands-on learning while becoming acquainted with the newly created space designed for inclusion, offering a place for community youth to go when they need to decompress.

C.R.E.A.T.E. Space stands for Calm Room & Expressive Art to Empower. It’s the result of a collaborative effort of the Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative through Behavioral Health and Youth Services. All community members and youth are invited to visit the space and learn more about its uses and how to remove the stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues.

“With the recent creation of the Tulalip Special Needs Parent Association by several key community members and Youth Services, we wanted to honor the great work that’s going on by making sure that we create activities and places that are wholly inclusive of all youth,” explained Monica Holmes, C.R.E.A.T.E. Space designer and Parapro for the M.S.P.I. Grant. “That meant taking a look at our facilities first and asking the question: Are we accessible in every sense of the word to our youth with special needs be they social, emotional, physical or mental?

“The C.R.E.A.T.E. Space has two major components that were developed to meet those needs. The Calm Room is a sensory inclusive space with various elements that can be utilized to provide a sensory environment which promotes a sense of calm and well-being, while addressing the individual sensory input needs of our youth with sensory overload challenges. We’ve stocked it with items like play dough, Legos, fidgets, soft furnishings, lower lighting, colored mood lighting, essential oil infusers, nature sound machine, yoga mats and resistance bands that can deliver the right amount of sensory input and/or relax the nervous system that is agitated or overloaded by typical lights and sounds of most spaces.

“The Expressive Art studio is the second component to the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space which serves youth in a unique fashion. It doubles as an art studio and gathering spot for teens who want to hang out in a homey, quiet, comfortable location to interact in small groups or one-on-one with a staff member trained to use art and games as a means to express creativity and emotion in a safe space.”

For the grand opening event many Tulalip service departments were invited to setup their own information booths where they could interact with visitors to the Space. Community Health, Smoking Cessation, Problem Gambling, Chemical Dependency, and Behavioral Health were among those who accepted the invite. Partnerships are key in spreading awareness and resources to our community members. With all those services under one roof at the same time, they were able to let people know they have many choices and places to go for help with various addictions or issues. They also helped de-stigmatize the act of reaching out for help.

A variety of free expressive art classes were offered to visitors and attendees of the grand opening event. The one receiving the most youth attention and excitement was the Broken Bowl Project. The bowl represents us as an individual, we are vessels that hold many things. But sometimes we break and need to be put back together. Our brokenness changes us, makes us who we are. And so the painting on the outside of the bowl represents who we are on the outside, and the words on the inside of the bowl express all the hidden components that make us who we are.

“The lesson of the Broken Bowl Project is to embrace the brokenness, to add words and colors and fill the cracks and holes with beautiful reminders and positive messages about the things we have overcome or hope to be someday,” says Monica, who guided over fifteen youth undergoing the project. “But mostly we should be able to stand back and admire this new vessel we have become, not despite but inspite of all we have done, been or had happen to us.”

The C.R.E.A.T.E. Space is a place to decompress and also learn positive coping skills with an adult who has been trained to provide sensory appropriate options during times of high stress and overload. As the mother of four special needs children with sensory processing issues, Parapro Monica Holmes has spent years learning ideas from occupational therapists and creating spaces like this at her own home and in public settings for children.

Hours of C.R.E.A.T.E. Space are Monday – Friday from 3:30p.m. – 6:00p.m. Individual sessions can be made by appointment or small groups wanting a private setting can make a reservation. For more information please contact Monica Holmes at 360-631-3406 or mholmes@tulaliptribe-nsn.gov

Young artists paint new spirit into Youth Center

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

In preparation for the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space (Calm Room & Expressive Art to Empower) grand opening event scheduled for Friday, February 9th from 11:30a.m. – 5:00p.m. at the Tulalip Youth Center, an art competition was held to determine which creative minds would paint new spirit into the blank canvas walls of the Youth Center’s second floor.

Over forty aspiring muralists from the Marysville School District submitted entries into the competition. The eight deserving winners were selected based on their best representations of local culture, wildlife, waterways, forests, mountains and daily life in our area. The eight artists were contacted and given the opportunity to paint their own ‘window scene’ that showcases a view from the Tulalip/Marysville area onto the walls that will house the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space.

“What we loved best about the submissions we received was the eclectic mix of styles and perspectives each child represented,” explained Monica Holmes, C.R.E.A.T.E. Space designer and Parapro for the M.S.P.I. Grant (Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative) through Behavioral Health and Youth Services

Each muralist used their original artwork as a jumping off point for their wall art or canvas. Prior to painting, Monica led a discussion about art mediums, like the various kinds of art materials and supplies used in artistic creation. Essentially, it’s whatever they wanted to use in order to make a mark upon a surface, such as ink, sharpies, colored pencil, pastels, watercolor, chalk or even crayon.

Under the guidance of Monica, the ambitious, young artists also looked at the types of paint brushes and discussed the merits of fan brushes and finer brushes versus large sponge brushes and the best applications for each. Like a scene from The Joy of Painting, the half-hour instructional TV show hosted by afro-sporting painter Bob Ross, the young artists in residence were allowed to let their imaginations run wild with creative inspiration.

After a short tutorial and healthy snack provided by the M.S.P.I. Grant and Youth Services, the eager youth selected their color palettes, artist tools, and set off to sketch their artwork on panels. For those who chose to do a window scene, pre-painted window grids were ready and waiting on the walls of the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space for the fledgling artists to fill with their creative images.

While some students chose a more traditional window scene, others typified a more abstract art style. One young man, J.J. Collins a 5th grader at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, created a scene that took on a unique interpretation of a flowering branch viewed from outside his bedroom window. Rather than a conventional sketch of a tree branch with well-defined flower petals, he turned it into an almost batik styled painting called “The Battle of Light and Dark.”

“By utilizing the pure elements of form, color, line, texture, pattern, composition and process, abstract artwork allows artists flexibility and freedom in expressing their world views and inner realities. J.J.’s art definitely struck a chord in our judges and I’m sure his art will do the same for all those who view it,” remarked Monica Holmes.

Alongside J.J., several classmates from Ms. Mejia’s 5th grade class at Quil Ceda also won the contest. Amos Carpenter, Kane Hatch, KayDee Wilson, Levi Degreave, and Emma B. also turned in stunning samples. KayDee, Kane and Amos drew wildlife in the traditional Salish style, while Levi, Emma, Noelani Cultee (4th grader at Pinewood Elementary) and Dylan Jones-Moses (5th grader at Sunnyside Elementary) created beautiful samples of everyday life and nature.

Dylan, grandson of Don Jones, and a member of the Suquamish tribe, accompanied by several members of his family who rooted him on while he painted, delivered a sweeping panoramic view of Mt. Pilchuck. “I like being outdoors and love animals. This view is of Mt. Pilchuck from my cabin nearby.” His mother, overjoyed to find out her son Dylan had won the art contest, said, “We were over the moon and super proud of Dylan for this accomplishment. The picture he drew has a lot of meaning to him. He’s an eagle chaser. He loves watching them and has spotted 50 so far.”

Nadine Foster, grandmother of Amos Carpenter, and Tulalip tribal member, was grateful for the opportunity for her grandchild to show off his artwork. “Many members of our family are artists; his grandpa, my daughter, and various grandchildren. They sit around my dining room table sometimes just creating art.” Amos, for his part, was excited to be chosen because, as he stated, “My family is really proud of me. My art has a lot of meaning about the Salish culture and people from here.”

Kane, also a Tulalip tribal member, said his art represents “the strength of my Grandma Molly. Even though she was a hummingbird, I drew her as wolf. My family always mentions her and how she would want me to do my art.”

KayDee said her “art makes her feel calm when [she’s] drawing it and looking at it.”

Emma B., a Kainai tribal member from South Dakota, explained her art panels “are the meaning of wild; fire, water, flowers blooming, rain. Fire can be angry, water calming, rain refreshing and the flowers, see how they are growing and spreading out? I’m glad I made my mark here, for others to see.”

Tulalip tribal member, Noelani Cultee, reminisced about her artwork being a memory of “what I saw on the beach when I was little. I drew the canoes rowing in an ‘S’ shape because my mom and dad told me stories about them.”

When asked what the symbols in his artwork represented, Levi said that the eagle “shows that Nature is strong. The drummers and people listening in the longhouse have their music go upwards, the background shows the cedar forests and snow in the mountains.” Levi would like the caption for his panel to read: “We Are All Together In One Place.”

“I couldn’t agree more with Levi’s caption, which is the purpose and beauty of the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space,” added Monica Holmes. “It’s a place where youth can be together, creating art to heal, to express what’s inside of them, to grow and to learn positive ways to be peaceful within themselves and among others.”

The children’s murals will be on permanent display at the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space, offering inspiration and a meditation outlet for any in need. The C.R.E.A.T.E. Space’s grand opening is on Friday, February 9th from 11:30a.m. – 5:00p.m., located on the 2nd floor of the Tulalip Youth Center. It’ll be open house style for the entire community. All are welcome to attend.

After suffering first L, Hawks bounce back with three Ws

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Heritage boys basketball team opened the season undefeated with a (9-0) record. As they powered through the NW1B league, so did league foe Cedar Park Christian (11-0). This set up a battle of the unbeaten on January 5 at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium.

Cedar Park proved during the game that their bigger, stronger backcourt was able to keep Heritage off the boards and prevent them from attacking the basket. The Hawks had lots of difficulty manufacturing points in the 1st half and trailed 13-34 at halftime. In the 2nd half, the Hawks got back to running and playing their style, but their deficit was too large. Their winning streak was snapped with a 43-60 defeat.

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Hawks responded by putting up a season-high in points when they whooped Shoreline Christian, 87-53. They followed that up with a 70-32 blowout win over Providence Classical Christian.

Next up was rival Lummi Nation, in a home game played on Tuesday, January 16. With the gym packed full of fans for both sides, the environment was prime for a competitive game. Lummi came out with a solid game plan of slowing down the pace of play to throw the Hawks off their game. It worked over the first three quarters. The Hawks are so accustomed to playing up-tempo and using their combination of speed and athleticism to get transition buckets that Lummi’s slow, methodical pace gave them fits.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, the game was tied at 34-34. In the 4th quarter, the Hawks were finally able to bust the game open with their senior players leading the offensive charge. Josh Iukes hit two clutch 3-pointers and Nashone Whitebear scored 8 points in a four-minute frenzy, giving Tulalip the momentum to take home victory. Up by several baskets, Tulalip focused in on Lummi’s key scorer and prevented him from scoring down the stretch.

When the final game buzzer sounded, the Hawks had earned a hard fought 52-40 W. Josh led the Hawks in scoring with 13 points, while Nashone, Jr. Shay, and Rodney Barber each added 10 points.

The Hawks look to keep getting better in their half-court sets, as a looming matchup with Cedar Park on January 26 will surely go a long way to dictating who wins the NW1B crown. Next up for the Hawks is a road game at Lopez before returning home on Tuesday, January 23, for Senior Night versus Grace Academy.

Early Learning Academy Hosts Executive Function seminar at Parent Café 

Parent Lynzi Raya and son at the BJTELA Parent Café. The two-day workshop taught the importance of executive function skills in early childhood development.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Recent studies show that executive function skills begin to develop in children between the ages of birth to five. Although executive function skills aren’t fully developed until the age of twenty-five, the foundation for these skills are strongest when trained at a young age.

You might be wondering, what are executive function skills? By definition they are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for cognitive control of behavior, selecting and successfully monitoring behaviors that facilitate the attainment of chosen goals. In other words, they are skills we use day-to-day to manage our lives and accomplish our goals. Executive function skills include impulse control, working memory, organization, task initiation, metacognition, stress tolerance, time management, planning/prioritization, emotional control, response inhibition and sustained attention.

The Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy hosted a two-day workshop informing parents about executive function skills on January 10 and 11. During the Parent Café, attendees were treated to snacks and beverages while viewing videos showing studies of executive function skills in early childhood as well as a presentation by ECEAP Manager Stephanie Pitman.

“I wanted to give a presentation on executive function skills because so often parents are concerned about their kiddos not knowing the ABC’s, their colors or shapes. But really for true life success, they need to have impulse control, working memory and mental flexibility. That is the basis for all other learning in the future,” says Stephanie.

During the training the parents openly talked with one another about these skills and how they pertained to their children, asking and offering parent-to-parent advice. At the end of the seminar the parents took a quiz in which they learned a little bit about their personal executive function skills strengths and weaknesses and discussed how to improve them.

“This class taught me that it’s the little things that are taught over time. I think it’s important because anything you can do to help better your children is great,” expressed Early Learning Academy Parent, Mary Cameron Perillo.

“It’s more engrained when you can get them [during ages] birth to five,” states Stephanie. “Executive function is what they’re going to have to learn in life. I may not need to know my colors or algebra in my daily life but I am going to have to know how to get along with others. I am going to have to know how to exercise impulse control and how to deal with stress. Adults use this every day, that’s the skills we need for lifelong success.”

For more information, please contact the Betty J. Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

Tulalip students engage in hands-on, experimental learning

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Excitement was hard to contain at the Greg Williams Court on the night of December 20, 2017. Though it was merely five days until Christmas, the holiday spirit appeared to take a backseat as the youth of the Tulalip community participated in a fun, educational evening at the first Family STEAM and Literacy Night, hosted by Tulalip Youth Services.

STEAM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Mathematics is similar to the popular learning curriculum, STEM, implementing the arts as an additional area of study.  Variations of the STEAM program are currently being used in schools across the nation; however, local schools such as Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Tulalip Heritage High School continue to follow the STEM program for the time being. By bringing the STEAM experience to Tulalip, families participated in creative, experimental activities and the kids had a blast while doing so.

“STEM was created to engage more students in learning and gaining hands-on skills,” explains, Jessica Bustad, Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator. “I feel that adding arts into what was originally STEM is important. Most of what we do in school and also in the workforce requires creativity. Art can be found in each of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. In my opinion, to add it, to give it more power and recognition helps us all keep the creativity we have inside. Each child and adult learns differently and the larger variety of opportunities we offer, the better.”

The event kept the future leaders busy with several interactive activity stations such as an assembly line, where the kids took apart and reassembled ballpoint pens. Another popular activity was the cup tower station. A small group formed amongst the youth who worked together to make an extreme tower, so tall the kids were barely visible behind their structure.  Laughter and surprised expressions such as ‘woah’ and the occasional ‘wait, how’d you do that?’ were heard from the youngsters as they experimented together, eagerly bouncing from station to station. And drawing the largest crowd was a hands-on art project presented by the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett.

“Today we are creating a nature-scape,” explains Jennifer of the Creative Arts Department at the Imagine Children’s Museum. “We use recycled materials and other items found in nature to create a scene, like a diorama, found in nature and today we’re focusing on the winter season.”

The children used cotton balls and various items to construct snowy sceneries, which they viewed under a black light to give their diorama a more dramatic, chilling winter look.

The first fifty kids who arrived at the event received free beanbag chairs. The Scholastic book fair was part of the event and Youth Services gave everybody in attendance a free book.

“We want to encourage reading and learning together as a family at home,” says Jessica. “We also want to show that learning can be fun, that there’s different ways to learn and also that studying doesn’t always have to be so stressful. We have to empower our children to be explorers of their own interests. It is our duty to encourage them to find and research all of the possibilities for their future.”

The STEAM and Literacy Night was a success. Tulalip parents and kids are already inquiring about the follow-up to the action-packed, hands-on learning event, to which Youth Services promises there will many more during the new year.

For more information, please contact Youth Services at (360) 716-4909.

Training for a better tomorrow

TERO Vocational Training Center  instructor Mark Newland (right) celebrating the graduates achievements.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Wednesday, December 20, fourteen Native students were honored at the Dining Hall with a graduation banquet for their commitment to training for a better tomorrow. The fourteen students, five of whom are Tulalip tribal members, were the latest cohort to complete an intensive, fourteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program offered by the TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

As far as we know, the program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO department, is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The fifteen-week program provides curriculum that teaches a variety of core construction skills that can last a lifetime. Upon completion, the graduate’s dedication to a better future is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities now available to each graduate as they navigate the construction trades career path. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Graduates have also received certification on three pieces of lift equipment, specifically the scissor lift, boom lift, and industrial fork lift. TVTC students graduate trained and ready to safely and productively enter the construction work environment.

“This TERO program is an amazing opportunity for any Native American, regardless of which tribe you’re from,” says Tulalip tribal member and now TVTC graduate, Brando Jones. “I was living in Tacoma when I first learned of this class. After meeting with Lynne and Robert from Tulalip TERO I knew this class was the best chance for me to reconnect with Tulalip, while at the same time building a foundation for a better future. Now that I’ve graduated, my goal is to use this experience as a stepping stone towards success. I’m really going to miss the teachers and students. To my fellow graduates I say this, ‘We have the tools to build and keys to unlock doors, so let’s get it!’”

The TVTC pre-apprenticeship program is a unique, nationally known model that supports tribal members from sovereign nations across the United States. The program is not dependent on tribal hard dollars. In fact, zero hard dollars are used to fund it. Instead, due to the dedication and commitment of so many individuals the TVTC program continues to grow and gain more recognition while being funded by the graciousness of the Tulalip Charitable Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Pass Grant.

This Fall session gave TVTC students plenty of opportunities to showcase their newly acquired construction-based skill set with a series of projects. Community projects included a two-day demo and refurbishing of the Hibulb Cultural Center’s fence, constructing a presentation booth for Hibulb, and making a concrete sidewalk at the apprenticeship training headquarters in Seattle.

“This particular group of students was a very together, cohesive unit,” describes instructor Mark Newland. “They looked after one another real well and were always willing to help each other out. When it came to the culminating project, building three tiny houses, the students showed a lot of passion in their work and did an awesome job.”

Under the supervision of instructors Mark Newland and Billy Burchett, the students constructed three tiny houses for their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are being donated to homeless families located at a yet to be named, newly created homeless village in Seattle. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, a much safer environment and, most importantly, a measure of stability.

“TVTC works with Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). To date we have built 18 tiny Homes for this organization, which donates all supplies and materials required. This has saved TVTC thousands of dollars as these houses are used for training purposes, and lumber that was previously purchased for class is no longer needed,” explains TERO Coordinator, Lynne Bansemer.

“This most recent TVTC session we added a specialty course – a forty-hour scaffolding course – that was developed by the Carpenters Union Training division,” adds Lynne. “TVTC is excited to bring this opportunity to our students as scaffolding is used across many trades and this allows more employment opportunities for our students.”

Since the Fall of 2013, when TERO took over the program, 141 students have graduated the pre-apprenticeship program. Of those 141 graduates, 57 have been Tulalip Tribal members, and 17 have either been Tulalip spouses or parents. That’s 74 graduates from Tulalip and 67 fellow Native Americans from all over the region who have opted to train for a better tomorrow by completing the construction training program.

TVTC has seen an increasing number of persons who balance a full-time job while attending the training program. This term they had several students who came to training school every day who held full-time jobs by working swing or graveyard shifts. These students wanted more opportunities in their future and were willing to put in the dedication and sacrifice necessary in order to open more doors.

For more information on Tulalip TERO’s TVTC program or to inquire about admission into the next pre-apprenticeship opportunity, please contact Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator, at 360-716-4746 or visit TVTC.TulalipTERO.com