Empowering Native Communities, One Youth at a Time
Spirit of the Sun Monthly Newsletter
Spirit of the Sun’s mission is to work in partnership with Native communities in urban areas and on reservations to boost the resilience of Native people, especially youth and young adults.
Our vision is that the Native youth of today become the next generation of Native leaders, entrepreneurs, and skilled professionals who will help guide their communities toward wellness, prosperity, and cultural revitalization.
One of Spirit of the Sun's long-standing programs, Indigenous Youth Financial Fitness, launched again in April.
Thanks to funding from the Xcel Energy Foundation, Spirit of the Sun has held entrepreneurship and financial literacy training programs for Indigenous youth and young adults since 2014. The tradition of these programs continue to be improved with each year and we are still currently holding workshops, sessions, and simulations to help strengthen our community!
Our NEW Red Earth Yoga Program kicked off on April 20th!
Thanks to the Get Grounded Foundation, the Red Earth Yoga Program partners with Sata Yoga Cooperative to teach yoga, mindfulness, relaxation, and healthy food options in a culturally relevant setting. Our goal is to help teach youth the basics of yoga to receive the physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
Our first ever Indigenous Youth Arts and Culture Program took place on April 27th.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Native Americans in Philanthropy Gen Indigenous Response Fund at The Minneapolis Foundation, Spirit of the Sun was excited to will launch our Indigenous Arts and Culture Program. Beadwork is taught by Terra Trujillo.
David graduated from Adams State University where he earned his Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Leadership and holds a bachelor degree in Anthropology from the University of Northern Colorado. David is passionate about serving his community had has worked in the past to support at risk youth in the Denver metro community, refugee populations and the Native American community. David is excited to bring his passions to Spirit of the Sun and the opportunity to create new innovative programs for native and indigenous youth.
Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma and Flandreau Santee Sioux from North Dakota
Robert is currently enrolled in Pikes Peak community college, where he is getting his Associates of Science Cyber Security degree. He has been hired on as a Social Engineer for One Nation Walking Together, being tasked with the creation of a merged website, Facebook outreach as well as modernizing outdated technology for One Nation. During his spare time, you can often find him at many Native American pow wows in Colorado and many surrounding states, where he participates in many of the dance completions and pow wow singing.
Jasha Lyons Echo-Hawk is a justice seeker, community builder, and part-time marathoner. She has dedicated her life to pursuing equity, justice, and opportunity for all because she is a firm believer that everyone deserves a right to live their best life. She is a life-long Oklahoman and proud triabl citizen of the Seminole Nation, as well as a member of the Pawnee, Iowa,Omaha and Creek Nations.
Stephen will be replacing Courtney as our new grant writing VISTA! Stephen earned his Masters of Science in Social & Organizational Psychology from the University of Exeter and he holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He spent his academic career researching implicit bias and prejudice, and is excited to start his year here as a Spirit of the Sun Vista.
Paula was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to Guam in 2004. She is a mother of a beautiful and artistic 8 year old girl. Her hobbies include playing the guitar, drawing and singing. She is an air force veteran and a student at the University of Guam completing her Masters in counseling.
She is currently the SOTS Youth Program Outreach & Engagement Coordinator.
Clifford has been helping out for years as a volunteer at the American Indian Council helping Shannon Francis and has working in the Four Winds garden helping maintain seeds on an indigenous level, meaning using seeds that are specific to the North American continent. He has been around the Native community here in Denver for 13 years now and will now be serving as
a new VISTA at Four Winds American Indian Council as the Garden Coordinator.
Kelli Herr and Courtney Kjelland officially finished their year of VISTA service on June 10th!
We want to give these two wonderful ladies a huge thank you for their VISTA service! Courtney Kjelland and Kelli Herr are ending their year of service today. We will be sad to see them go but we know they will succeed in whatever comes next!
Courtney has been a tremendous help with Spirit of the Sun with grant writing, marketing and so much more that went into Spirit of the Sun and building up the native community. Courtney had an incredibly strong work ethic and we know she will be on to great things!
Kelli was placed at One Nation Walking Together and was the community outreach and engagement VISTA. We thank her for her hard work and positive attitude as well as the impact she has had on the community. We know she too will be successful in anything she puts her heart to!
Courtney and Kelli will still be part of the community and we won't be seeing the last of them!