Woska-Pi

It is our mission to guide and empower all Native American Youth to follow and choose the Woska-Pi of life by providing education and support in the areas of spiritual, mental and physical well being.

Project Woska-Pi is a program of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska that serves all Native American Youth. Project Woska-Pi in the Winnebago language translates to Good Way.

Our mission is to educate and instill in our Native American Youth the important role they hold in the future of their tribe and the future of all Native Americans. We will give our youth the tools to achieve a positive and healthy life for themselves. We will teach them the importance of surrounding themselves with a positive, healthy environment. We will focus on the importance of their education, their spiritual, mental and physical well being. We will show them the choices that they will face throughout life and how to choose what is positive and best for them. We will instill PRIDE in our youth, (self-pride, cultural pride and community-pride). We will teach and help them set personal goals and how to achieve them.

We are driven to help parents that wish to better their parenting skills by empowering them and educating them with the positive tools to raise and support a strong, positive teenager. We will use our parent’s guidance in what to deliver to our youth. We will teach and support our parents in how to up hold their role as the Loudest Voice in their Child’s Life.

Affective 10/01/11 Project Woska-Pi is funded under the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska’s Master Health Contract under the following areas of service.

Goal 1 of HHS-I-241-2009-00008 To provide the kinds of activities and environments that allow our youth to make right choices.

Project Woska-Pi creates and hosts a variety of events during the year to promote healthy, fun prevention and self-esteem education. These include daily hands on classes in EduCARE Winnebago, the Winnebago Public School, the St. Augustine’s Indian Mission and the Winnebago Youth Facility, a summer leadership retreat for 12-18 year olds, summer events for specific ages (3-6, 7-11 and 12-18), collaborations with other tribal/community youth programs, speakers, celebrations and forums. Project Woska-Pi takes every opportunity to partner with other tribal entities to leverage the resources to make sure it is a positive experience for all youth.

Goal 2 of HHS-I-241-2009-00008 An outreach measure that allows for early detection of various abuses and then follow-up.

Project Woska-Pi staff works with other departments to report concerns that they find when they are delivering their preventive education Programs. This includes reporting abuse, violence, alcohol or drug abuse to the appropriate departments or agencies within the organizations and collaborative partners meeting tribal, state and federal guidelines.

Goal 3 of HHS-I-241-2009-00008 Conduct prevention education programs for the various age groups not excluding adults.

Project Woska-Pi has become a project that continues to build, adjust and deliver to the youth that we work with.

Project Woska-Pi’s experience and data indicates that for youth to make the ‘right’ choice it is important to start as early as 3 years of age. Currently Project Woska-Pi provides intervention and prevention curriculums from 3 year old EduCARE (pre-school) through 12th grade. In addition education is provided through the participation of events to adults.

Since the beginning of the project the staff and students have molded a program that most benefits the youth we serve. All added activities, rap sessions, discussion topics and talking circles have been modeled around the specific class’s suggestions and is delivered in a manner that includes tribal culture and traditions as much as possible.

It is through this model that it has been determined that in focusing on the prevention in areas such as alcohol and drug abuse and other community norms that it is necessary to also address the life stresses that are felt by youth starting as early as 3 years of age. The exposure to alcohol and drugs at early ages from their care takers reinforces the necessity to provide an alternative way of looking at the world hence “Project Woska-Pi” the good way.

The Project Woska-Pi sessions that we hold with students in the schools at the current time are with the EduCARE youth three (3) and four (4) year olds (Building RESPECT), Kindergarten through the 3rd Grade (Building RESPECT), 4th through 6th (Building RESPECT & Culturally Adapted BASIC WAIT Training) and the 7th Grade through the 12th Grade (Building RESPECT & Culturally Adapted WAIT Training) and the Winnebago Youth Facility the youth are delivered based on their age.

 

Deliveries under the Building RESPECT sessions (EduCARE – 3rd Grade)

Self Respect Celebrating Differences
Respect for Others Native Pride
Respect for Teachers Respect for Parents
Respect for Grandparents Respect for Aunts & Uncles
Cultural Pride How to behave & earn respect
Healthy/Unhealthy Pride Respect for Mother Earth
Respect for Property Conduct at Cultural Gatherings
Community Pride Talking Circles (communication/stress relief)

 

Deliveries under the Culturally Adapted BASIC WAIT Training (4th Grade – 6th Grade)

Communication w/ parents & trusted adults Whole person health
Friendship Boundary Setting
Changes during puberty Anatomy body differences
Basic fetal development Reproductive system
Development of critical thinking Intentional decision making skills
Goal setting Basic introduction of sexual transmitted diseases
HIV/AIDS Introduction of PIESS (sexuality)
Violence Bullying
Higher Education Choices

 

Deliveries under the Culturally Adapted WAIT Training (7th Grade – 12th Grade)

Learning about self and others Communication skills and barriers
Communicating feelings Personal inventory
Personal strengths Personality styles
Choices and effects Asset assessment
Future orientation Life plan
Hopes and dreams Basic needs of the human heart (LOVE)
Love vs. infatuation Good date/Bad date
Friendship/Dating Why dating is necessary
Bonding Oxytocin
Parent/teen connection Relationship red flags
Sexual assault/date rape Media influences
Drugs and alcohol influence What else influences me
Knowing your body Reproductive system
Differences between men and women STD/STI
Teen pregnancy Character building
Boundaries Sexual refusal skills
Why I will wait How teens misuse sex
Benefits of marriage Compatibility checklist
Goal setting Stress relief
Conflict resolution Communication
Positive Confidence School Pride
Community Pride Native Pride
Higher Education Cultural Pride
Spirituality Resilience

 

During any session there are anywhere from four (4) – seven (7) of the above mentioned areas that are addressed in the objectives of the session.

In the beginning of the project Woska-Pi we were labeled as an Abstinence Until Marriage program that was put into place to reduce the teen pregnancy rate in Native American Teens in our area. This was a grant that was awarded by the Child and Family Services Department of the United States. When President Obama took office it was determined by his staff that the funding for abstinence would be rerouted to Teen Pregnancy Prevention which cut out the grants delivering sexual abstinence.

When this occurred the Winnebago Tribe took it upon themselves to fund the program to continue the efforts of Project Woska-Pi in the Winnebago Community. At this time as the program became a tribal program, Project Woska-Pi, thinking outside the box seen the behaviors and beliefs that our youth ages 12 – 18 years had already been programmed to today’s beliefs and lifestyles. We took on a pilot of developing a cultural curriculum that we would begin to deliver to youth ages 3 – 11 years that would build on RESPECT in every aspect of their lives.

It was seen and self reported that our youth felt hopeless and that their surroundings were programming them to believe that dreams and goals were out of their reach, thus developing them into teens that seek affection, exception, love, and hope. In seeking these actions/feelings in their lives they made negative choices by having sex, using alcohol and drugs, bullying others, desecrating property and being violent. Our method of continuing to deliver the positive messages of empowerment to our youth, lets them know that no matter where you come from, what negatives you have to deal with in your daily life…. You can be what and who ever you want to be by making positive choices in your life.

By Woska-Pi delivering the message every week and every year, our youth have built feelings of Respect, Trust, Security, Love, Reliability, Passion, and Caring for the program staff and for themselves. You will notice the youth’s behaviors and attitudes will differ when Woska-Pi is present. It is our belief that the relationship and the respect that the program has built with the youth in Winnebago, is our program’s largest asset.

Our second largest asset is that all program staff is from the Winnebago Community and has grown up in the Winnebago Community. Each of us can relate to life on the reservation. The program educators are not certified teachers, but are committed community members that have a strong compassion to help the youth of Winnebago mold themselves into productive, positive adults.

This is a very brief over view of Project Woska-Pi and what we have data to prove. We have fought long and hard to get the program in each school on the Winnebago Reservation and we are there today. This program is about the youth of Winnebago and we have built it around them.

Staff and years with the program:

Cherie LaPointe, Director (Since 2008) - Adanya Kearnes, Training Coordinator (Since 2009) - Kathy LaRose, Educator (Since 2008) - Greg Bass, Jr., Educator (Since 2012) - Christa Albert, Educator (Since 2013)

Contact Information:
Project Woska-Pi
108 Maple St.
Winnebago, NE 68071
Cherie LaPointe, Director - Email
Phone: 402.878.2134
Fax: 402.878.2135