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HORTON – The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas has received a $1,244,972 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the Tribal Behavioral Health “Native Connections” program.

These funds will support the Kickapoo Native Connections Program over the next five years, and link the KTIK to a network of indigenous youth initiatives across the country.

“The Native Connections program provides needed supports for our youth while celebrating their strengths and resilience,” said Jason Thomas, Kickapoo Tribal Council Member.

The Kickapoo Native Connections Program will focus on positive youth development, building strong mental health supports through peer mentoring networks, and support integrated strategies for youth resilience with area schools. Program goals include strengthening a system of behavioral health and wellness programs for youth and young adults; improving availability and accessibility of behavioral health and wellness programs for youth and young adults; and engaging community leaders and members in building strong connections that promote Kickapoo culture, language, history, and traditions.

“Supporting the wellness and resilience of our youth is critically important in these unprecedented times. Our Tribal Council is dedicated to the health and well-being of our young tribal members, and the Native Connections program will help us foster a culture of care as we build strong leaders for our future, together,” said Lester Randall, Tribal Chairman.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awards a growing number of annual programs for American Indian and Alaska Native communities through a competitive application and review process. The Native Connections program supports tribal communities in their efforts to develop and implement strengths-based youth programs that reflect the unique cultural and social needs of their indigenous communities and cultures.

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