The Community Recreation Services Leisure Education Division of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is introducing Community youth to potential careers by hosting a series of classes at the Way of Life Facility.
“The Leisure Ed program is [designed] to benefit the Community and invite presenters to come in and [raise] awareness on different topics, especially on subjects to educate the youth,” said Julian Rivers, Recreation Education Division Recreation Coordinator II. He said one example is basic computing classes for adults and the seniors.
Rivers said another purpose is to bring in Community members who are subject-matter experts on careers or pathways in which they have firsthand knowledge, “whether it is someone who came up through the Community and wants to share their knowledge or someone who was supported by the Community to go to school and wants to give back.”
He said some of the classes are part of a series, as was done in the past with the financial skills literacy class for teens. “This time we wanted to bring [presenters from] the Veterans Service Office to come in and talk about the military and why they chose to join the service,” said Rivers.
The classes are meant to to be open discussions that explore questions the youth may have. “It’s all about making things relatable to the kids, so they can have a better understanding of each topic,” said Rivers.
There are plans to hold other classes that branch onto different professions, such dance and business management. In the near future classes will include guests like Davina Atwood, a Community member who owns and operates her own party-planning business.
“I think it would be great for the youth to hear about her story and how she got into party planning, and it would be good to learn about the ins and outs of how she runs her business,” said Rivers. He added that these sessions allow the youth to connect with the guest speakers, some of whom are SRPMIC members or have firsthand experience working with tribal communities.
“Before, we had Providence First Trust Company come in and provide a presentation on finances. Obviously those speakers aren’t from the Community, but they work with the tribe and have an office here,” said Rivers.
In December the sessions will resume with a class featuring representatives from the Veterans Service Office, to make up for a class that was cancelled in October. Next March, a new round of financial skills classes will be offered to adults.
Rivers said that presenting various career options to the youth is critical because “they’re going to be going out into the world doing different things and they might consider [a class topic] we present as a career pathway.”