Your recent article, "Colleges woo Native Americans with new programs," (Herald, July 20) describes how colleges around the country are seeing the need to create programs to prepare Native Americans to leave their tribes and start their college careers.
Much like the programs mentioned in this article, our state's own Florida Indian Youth Program (FIYP), created by the Florida Governor's Council on Indian Affairs, helps Native Americans prepare for higher education, employment and self-sufficiency.
The FIYP and its Leadership Academy host American Indian, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian teens from Florida and Georgia each July in Tallahassee.
This intensive, two-week, away-from-home, cost-free camp contains four main curriculum components -- academic skills, job skills, life skills and social and cultural activities -- as well as college information and preparation.
The FIYP focuses on STEM education -- science, technology, engineering and math -- with a special emphasis on robotics as well as tribal government.
Participating students develop a "Ten Year Plan" for their future education and career goals.
The FIYP has been serving both reservation and non-reservation Native American youth in Florida and Georgia since 1981. It is the oldest continuously running Indian youth program in the nation.
The 34th annual FIYP took place July 12-26 in Tallahassee, and helped prepare nearly 50 Indian youth for college careers.
Robert Kellam, Florida Governor's Council on Indian Affairs, Inc.