Take Action

Thomas describes his community as being like the "third world." Survey your region to find communities or neighborhoods that might also fit that description and engage with residents to plan a turn-around.

Explore anti-poverty and/or cultural preservation organizations serving young people living on reservations and find out how you can help.

Host a family screening that includes a facilitated discussion between elders and teens about the role of ethnic heritage and expectations about preserving that heritage.

Host a college fair that includes resources specifically for students who are the first in their families to attend college. Consider establishing a mentoring system that pairs adults in your community who have earned college degrees with high school students who want to pursue higher education but don't have family members to provide advice about application procedures, choosing the right school, financial aid and strategies for success once they get to school.

Host a fundraiser to help defray college costs for Native American or others from disenfranchised communities. Alternatively, raise funds to help schools in communities with limited resources to create support systems designed to enable all students to graduate high school and transition to apprenticeships, career training or college.