Orleta Slick is the 21st Century Community Learning Center site coordinator at Shonto Preparatory School in Shonto, Arizona. She will be using her $5,000 grant to establish an after-school program, “Connecting Voices,” to reconnect the students with the local community and their culture.
“By teaching resiliency, our students will enter a journey of rediscovery and healing.”
Her goal is to implement a program following the holistic approach of learning for Navajo children. The four cardinal directions represent a unique educational philosophy and provide principles both for protection from the imperfections of life and for the development of well-being: East – Self-identity; South – Self-respect; West – Self-care; and North – Protect self.
“Connecting Voices” will improve the lives of students and foster Navajo cultural understanding and respect. Orleta will bring in local leaders and culture bearers to share Navajo stories, art, foods, traditional practices, lifeways, and family structures. Her program will offer support and a safe environment, as well as social-emotional learning by using cultural knowledge that will help them work on coping skills and setting goals. The community, by being part of this project, can strengthen the foundation of this program and help children understand their traditions so their voices can be heard in the future.