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Meet the 2017 Dreamstarters!

Running Strong is excited to announce our third class of Dreamstarters! These 10 remarkable young people have dreams to promote education in their communities, and together we can make these dreams come true.

Support a Dream for Native Youth

Learn More About the Dreamstarter Grant Program


Brian Barlow (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma)

22, Tahlequah, OK, Cherokee Nation Foundation

Brian’s dream is to engage Native youth with the Cherokee language by bringing the language into everyday community activities. The program will do this with gardening, signs in grocery stores in Cherokee, language classes, and collaboration with elders.


Caitlin Bordeaux (Rosebud Sioux)

25, Saint Francis, SD, St, Francis Indian School

Caitlin’s dream will start an after school computer science program for Native elementary, middle, and high school students. She hopes to open up educational opportunities in computer science and foster an increase in Natives in the tech workforce.


Shayleena Britton (Round Valley Indian Tribes)

17, Covelo, CA, Round Valley Native American Studies Program

Shayleena’s dream is to teach the Wailaki language through the use of social media. She will share information on a Wailaki Facebook page with a word of the day, traditional stories, prayers and everyday purposes of the language.


Sara Chase (Hoopa Valley Tribe)

24, Albany, CA, Hoopa Tribal Education Association

Sara’s dream is to start a summer immersion camp to teach Hupa youth the endangered Hupa language. This camp would get youth excited about learning the language through cultural activities and games, and start the process of creating new language speakers.


Stephan Cheney (Kul Wicasa Oyate)

26, Blue Lake, CA, Native Hope

Stephan’s dream is to establish an after school youth mentorship program to help transition-aged Native youth acquire job readiness skills and work experience, and build confidence as strong Native Americans in this day and age. 


Roo George-Warren (Catawba Indian Nation)

25, Rock Hill, SC, Catawba Cultural Preservation Project

Roo’s dream is to foster a living Catawba language through the creation of the first-ever Catawba language learning application. His mobile app will employ multi-sensory, culturally appropriate, engaging games to teach the language to any and all members of the Catawba tribe.


Kristina Hyatt (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

27, Cherokee, NC, America's Tooth Fairy: National Children's Oral Health Foundation

Kristina’s dream is to be a Native American “tooth fairy,” by visiting nearly 20 schools and after school programs serving Native American children in North Carolina and Oklahoma. Her program will teach kids how to properly take care of their teeth and give them the tools to do it.


Riel LaPlant (Blackfeet)

24, Olympia, WA, The Evergreen State College Foundation

Riel’s dream is to partner teachers with local Native youth to construct a tipi and use it as a place to come together. His project will teach urban Native youth about the significance of Indigenous symbols, the environment, community, the healing properties of art and more, and encourage them to participate in the sacred tradition of storytelling.


Hokani Maria (Native Hawaiian)

14, Kapaau, HI, Kohala Unupa'a

Hokani’s dream is to educate his North Kohala community in the construction of a traditional Hawaiian canoe. This will be the first canoe built by the families in his community. His project will involve workshops on the history, building, and caring for the canoe and the ocean.


Brian Sherman (Oglala Lakota)

20, Pine Ridge, SD, Mitakuye Foundation

Brian’s dream is to teach community dance classes to youth on the Pine Ridge reservation. The program will teach youth not only about fitness and the arts, but also about life skills and suicide prevention as it provides a positive space for Pine Ridge youth to spend their time.  


See Also View All

  • Dreamstarter Teacher

    This year, we’re introducing a new project to help jumpstart more dreams for American Indian students: Dreamstarter Teacher.

  • Team Running Strong in the Marine Corps Marathon™

    Want to learn more about Team Running Strong Marine Corps Marathon and how to join the only charity team in the Marine Corps Marathon that raises funds for Native American youth? Read more on our Team Running Strong Marine Corps Marathon page!

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We invite you to make a difference in the lives of American Indian youth today by donating to our cause.