with Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund
Posted Nov 14, 2017
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By 2020, it's estimated that 65 percent of jobs will require a post-secondary degree or certificate. Only 13.8 percent of American Indians have a bachelor's degree or higher. With 40 percent of this population at college age or younger, there is a need for strong support systems to further academic and professional success. Tribal colleges are working to raise college graduation rates while promoting the teaching and preservation of Native American languages and culture. A conversation with Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. Click here for part 1 of Native Amer Education and Culture.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Robert Traynham: Is it safe to assume Cheryl that the vast majority [00:03:30] of college students that go to a Tribal College University, are they first generation?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: The majority are first generation students.
Robert Traynham: So one would assume that on graduation day, the whole family is graduating.
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Absolutely.
Robert Traynham: It's a true experience. Do you find that, that when that first generation college graduate becomes a college graduate, do they then give back? In other words, is the culture that you mentioned a few moments ago, is it embedded in family in making sure that collage graduates say, hey look, I went to school, you can too little brother or sister [00:04:00] or cousin or neighbor?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: That's the experience that we have with our institutions and with our Tribal community, that people, we figure, you know, anywhere from 35 to 50 people are influenced by each person who graduates.
Robert Traynham: 35 to 50 are influenced by one person?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Yeah, to consider even graduating from high school, which is a huge accomplishment often times in our communities, and to be able then to go on to college or to some kind of vocational program, is [00:04:30] something now that they know that they can achieve.
Robert Traynham: I wanna pause on something you mentioned a few moments ago about the one person having that much influence. Have you done any research in terms of how you're perceived by the American people in general?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Well we have at The American Indian College Fund. Our work is to get people to support us, so ...
Robert Traynham: I assume financially, volunteer?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Financially, mostly financially.
Robert Traynham: Let's pause there for a second. How can people give to you financially? Is there a website they can go to?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: They can go to wwwcollegefund.org [00:05:00] and access our resources to support us and also to provide an education for themselves, because what we discover in our research and what I know as a Native person, having worked in education my whole life, that we're invisible to most of the American public and many people don't realize that we're still here, really thriving in our cultural identities and really working to build our communities and to be a part of society in a productive [00:05:30] way. I think that people can support us with that. Sometimes you can just support us by being our ally, making sure that the needs of American Indians, Alaskan Native peoples in your community and in your institutions are being met.
Robert Traynham: You know Cheryl, the biggest take away that I am taking away from this interview and the few seconds we have left is that education has always been and will continue to be the gateway to a better life and a better community. Would you agree with that?
Cheryl Crazy Bull: I would agree with that. You know the ancestors of the people that are working [00:06:00] in the Tribal Colleges today told us that we would put down our bows and arrows and take up the words of the white man in order to be successful and we believe that education gives us that.
Robert Traynham: Cheryl Crazy Bull, thank you very much for joining us.
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Thank you.
Robert Traynham: Look forward to having you back on the program soon.
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Thank you Robert.
Robert Traynham: Take care.
Cheryl Crazy Bull: Thank you.
Robert Traynham: And thank you for joining us as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I'm Robert Traynham.
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All parents want their children to excel in school academically, but many aren't able to afford expensive school supplies for them to do so. This becomes an even greater issue for students entering middle and high school, quickly approaching college application season. Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for an intimate discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is providing students with quality school supplies.
Henry Saxon joins Robert Traynham for a discussion on the how the Boys and Girls Club of America is helping families provide students with quality school supplies.
Interview Recorded June 14, 2017. Hosted by Robert Traynham.
Read a partial transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: This fall as elementary school students head back to class, parents can spend up to $200 per child on school supplies. For parents of middle and high school students, that figure jumps to more than $330. For families struggling to make ends meet, these costs can be out of reach. Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I'm Robert Traynham, and joining me is Henry Saxon, director of organizational development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Welcome to the program, Henry.
Saxon: Thank you, Robert.
Traynham: You know, I'm pausing for a second here because I just -- When I say those type things and read those stats, it's really depressing that there are some parents out there that really can... look, write a check, and whatever their child needs or children need, they can make it happen. For others, who are living paycheck to paycheck, folks that are struggling between literally food, medicine, the mortgage, car payment, and school supplies, it's a bit of a struggle. How pervasive is this problem?
Saxon: Well, thank you for your question. And it is very concerning to all of us and certainly at Boys & Girls Clubs of America, where we have nearly 4 million kids who faithfully come to our clubs each and every day. Many of them are in the demographics that you just described, so... But what's more troubling is, without those critical resources that you cited, young people have a tendency to fall behind if they're not adequately prepared at the start of the school year. And we all know the implications of not having adequate preparation, and they fall behind in some of the things that impact them, particularly academically.
Traynham:?The parent who is struggling -- they're probably saying to themselves, "I want my child to do well, but I cannot afford this. And I want my child to soar academically." And they're crying out for help. What can they do? How can they turn to perhaps the Boys & Girls Club of America for help?
Saxon: Well, one of the things that we're focusing on is we've just launched an after-school initiative called Back2School, and this is where we're having really a call to action, quite honestly, to the public to go to our website, bgca.com, and look at supporting young people by donating after-school supplies and resources so we can distribute them at our nearly 4,000 Club houses across the country. That's one start where we can get critical resources to the kids that you're talking about.
Traynham:And, Henry, for the folks that are watching this program either on their smart device or perhaps at home, what does those school supplies look like? Is it just as simple as a pen? Is it a laptop? Are there books? I mean, what is it?
Saxon:They're reference materials, paper products, pens, calculators, reading materials, dictionaries, reference materials, as I mentioned -- "A" to "Z." If we're fortunate enough to take things like laptops, we'll certainly get those and accept those as well, but our website has all of that information and some of the things that we advise you to provide for us.