Since 2016, when we at Running Strong for American Indian Youth® initiated our Dreamstarter® Teacher program to help teachers and other educators such as librarians, counselors, coaches, etc., meet unmet needs in their classrooms or schools, 66 teachers have received $1,000 grants to do just that.
Each year, Running Strong selects up to 25 teachers to receive Dreamstarter Teacher grants which may be used for practically anything they may need in their classroom including resource materials and books, supplies, equipment, professional development, field trips/transportation, and or stipends to support bringing community liaisons into the classroom.
As of this year, through the Dreamstarter Teacher grant program more than 6,400 students have benefited in a myriad of ways to help encourage Native children and youth to follow their dreams.
Over the years, past projects have included teaching young students about traditional methods of dehydrating foods, incorporating culturally representative books about and by Native peoples into a school’s library, coordinating visits by Native elders and community members to classrooms to help students connect with their tribal cultural language and knowledge, constructing greenhouses and planting gardens, developing, producing and distributing lesson plans centered on Native cultures, and much more.
The criteria for successfully applying for a Dreamstarter Teacher grant are that the teacher or educator must teach or support Native students, from preschool/Head Start through college. And while classes are not required to be 100 percent Native to be eligible, the majority of students served by the grant must be Native.
“Through Running Strong, we have made learning about our culture and history a normal part of the school year,” says 2018-2019 Dreamstarter Teacher Cheryl Tuttle, a teacher at the Round Valley Native American American Studies Program in California.
“Our students are appreciative of the presentations and look forward to these important connections to the past from people in their present so they can continue their culture into the future.”
And for the 2021-2022 school year, applications are being accepted now through July 8. If you are, or know, a teacher or educator of Native students who could use $1,000 for the betterment of their students, please apply, or encourage them to apply today.
If you would like to help support our Dreamstarter Teacher program that benefits thousands of Native students each school year, please consider making a contribution today. This school year has ended, but a new one is just a couple of months away.