MISSOULA – A core team from the University of Montana Institute for Educational Research and Service has been selected to participate in a unique national training program coordinated by the National Network to Eliminate Disparities in Behavioral Health and sponsored by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Project Venture: Positive Prevention for American Indian Youth is an outdoor experiential development program designed for Native youth who are at high risk for substance use and related problems. Project Venture was developed by the National Indian Youth Leadership Project, a community-based nonprofit organization owned and operated by Native Americans with nearly 20 years of experience in youth development.
Organizations were allowed to propose a team of three to five members. Strong selection preference was given to organizations serving American Indians. UM’s Institute for Educational Research and Service, an institute in the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences, is an ideal candidate as it houses the National Native Children’s Trauma Center, a Treatment and Service Adaptation Center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. It is the only center of its kind in the U.S.
“There are relatively few evidence-based prevention curriculums specifically designed for American Indian and Alaska Native youth,” said Maegan Rides At The Door, director for UM’s National Native Children’s Trauma Center. “Our team is excited to learn more about the program, as we particularly like its emphasis on building strengths and promoting culture. We knew it was going to be a competitive applicant pool, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to participate.”
Providing national expertise on childhood trauma among American Indian/Alaska Native children, the NNCTC provides trainings and consultations to community agencies, tribal programs, clinicians, school personnel, technicians and families on the impacts and prevention of childhood traumatic stress. The IERS team participating in the Project Venture training hopes they will bolster their professional skillset to help youth develop positive self-concepts, effective social skills, community service ethics, the belief that they can influence events and their outcomes, and increased decision-making and problem-solving skills.
“Being selected as a sponsored trainee is an honor for our institute and university,” said Rick van den Pol, director of the Institute for Educational Research and Service. “This training will help advance a core value in IERS: Native self-determination through wellness.”
            Over the course of several months, the IERS team will participate in various webinars, on-site trainings, coaching calls and program testing sessions. Through established partnerships with schools and programs in Browning and Frazer, implementation of newly learned programs and skills will begin immediately. These unique partnerships also will allow for greater community and culturally specific components to be applied and respected, helping to ensure greater success rates in program participation and outcomes. 


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