The HEY Project

01/26/12  Portland, Ore.

Project/Resources for Native Youth


The Healthy and Empowered Youth (H.E.Y.) Project focuses on addressing unhealthy behaviors among youth in tribal communities and provides them with opportunities to learn about more positive lifestyles and make informed and healthier life choices. By using the Native STAND curriculum and various media outlets, including digital film- making, students will work together to help prevent high health risk behaviors, promote healthier life choices, increase cultural awareness, and develop sustainable life skills.

Native STAND is adapted from STAND—Students Together Against Negative Decisions—a peer educator curriculum developed for youth in rural Georgia. It has been evaluated and is theoretically based, using both the Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) and the Diffusion of Innovations Model (identifying and relying on popular opinion leaders to promote change). Its approach is comprehensive and skills-based, and includes STD, HIV, and teen pregnancy prevention, as well as drug and alcohol issues and dating violence. Sessions focus on positive personal development; including team building, diversity, self-esteem, goals and values, decision making, negotiation and refusal skills, peer educator skills, and effective communications.  

The curriculum was designed to meet the needs of today's Native youth. It honors tradition and culture at the same time that it meets today's Native youth where they are: walking between two different—but interconnected—worlds. While Native STAND acknowledges that Native youth face many of the same challenges as mainstream youth, it embraces the power of traditional teachings and cultural strengths that Native youth have within themselves and their communities.

Interested in more details about the HEY Project? Contact Nichole Hildebrandt, program manager.