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In this five-part series, we spoke with staff and young people living and working in programs that have received grants from the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Some are Tribal organizations; others are non-tribal entities that serve a large number of Native youth. Here’s what Betty Frog, a resident assistant at the Cherokee Nation Youth Shelter in Tahlequah, OK, had to say about what her program means to her and her community:
We give [youth] a comfortable place to sleep, make sure they have clean clothes, help them enroll in school, give them three meals a day—home-cooked meals, just show them that someone cares. Some kids don’t have that.
A couple of weeks ago, a boy who was here at the shelter came back just to say hi. I was in the kitchen, wasn’t expecting anyone. Another kid came up and said, “There’s a boy at the door asking for you, Betty.” Turned out it was a 16-year-old boy who had been here awhile back. I asked him if he’d been staying out of trouble, and he said he was. He had a friend with him—he didn’t introduce me to him, but we talked for a little while. Then I told him that I had to get back to cooking supper. And he smiled and said to his buddy, “Yeah, she cooks good suppers.” And as we were all leaving, I heard the boy say to his friend, “That’s Betty. She’s everybody’s mom.” Well, that just makes a person feel good. It definitely made my day.
The Basic Center Program funds shelters that provide emergency services to young people up to age 18. In FY 2009, 330 programs received a total of $48.6 million. Grant announcements are usually released every year in the spring. Sign up to be notified when new grant announcements are released.