Center Premieres Televised PSA at the NCAI Conference in Portland, Oregon

Washington, DC, November 2, 2011 –– Today, the Center for Native American Youth premiered their first televised public service announcement (PSA) in front of hundreds of tribal leaders attending the 68th National Congress of American Indian’s Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. The Center’s founder, Senator Dorgan, and two members from the Center’s board of advisors – Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians and Jacoby Ellsbury, Centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox – are featured in the PSA. They came together to raise awareness to the efforts being made by the Center and share a message of hope to youth in Indian Country. To view the PSA click here.

I am proud of the PSA and pleased it premiered at the National Congress of American Indian’s conference; a conference attended by hundreds of admirable tribal leaders working passionately to improve the lives of Native youth each and every day.  We are determined to work alongside tribal leaders to raise awareness to the challenges facing Indian children,” said former US Senator Byron Dorgan, founder of the Center.

The Center will work to broadcast the PSA in cities and towns with large Native American populations across the US. The PSA can also be found on the Center’s website (www.cnay.org), as well as on the Center’s YouTube channel.  

Native American youth face some of the most tragic disparities of any population in the US; However, often times these issues are not well understood by the general public. High rates of poverty and unemployment, health disparities, alcohol and substance abuse, and increased youth gang activity can be found in many of the Native American communities across the nation. 

We need to raise awareness of these issues.  More attention and more resources are needed to address these challenges and improve the lives of Native youth. The PSA helps us share the message that everyone should get involved in the effort to make a positive impact on the lives of the most at-risk population in the US – Native American youth,” stated Erin Bailey, director of the Center.

In addition to raising awareness to these challenges facing young Native people, the Center is also determined to highlight successful initiatives taking place in Indian Country, as well as support and provide positive reinforcement for youth who are over coming barriers and making a difference in their communities. 

Public Service Announcement Television Script

Byron Dorgan: I do not know what is second or third place in most people’s lives, but I know what’s in first…our children.

Jefferson Keel: Native American youth are the most at-risk population in this country.

Byron Dorgan: And that’s why I created the Center for Native American Youth.

Jacoby Ellsbury: We are working with tribes and families to improve the lives of Native American children and most of all promote hope.

Jefferson Keel: We focus on preventing teen suicide and shining a light on the challenges Native youth face.

Senator Dorgan: Please help us build better opportunities for Native American children. Visit our website.

The production of the thirty-second television PSA and two radio PSAs, was donated by the National Association of Broadcasters (NA. Former US Senator Gordon Smith, President and CEO of NAB, serves on the board of advisors for the Center for Native American Youth.

The Center for Native American Youth is a new organization Senator Dorgan created at the Aspen Institute to address the challenges facing Native American children. Dorgan donated $1 million of excess campaign funds to create the organization in January of this year at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC. For more information about the Center for Native American Youth and its outreach in Indian Country please visit www.cnay.org. 

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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