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|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Erin Bailey, Executive Director
Center for Native American Youth
The Aspen Institute
The nation’s largest operating foundation focused on safely reducing the need for foster care recognized the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth.
Washington, DC, May 20, 2015 —- On Wednesday, May 13, the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) received the 2015 Casey Excellence for Children Award from Casey Family Programs. The award was presented by Dr. William C. Bell, President and CEO of Casey Family Programs, at the foundation’s Making Hope a Reality for Children and Families event. The event brought together over 100 leaders in child welfare and wellbeing across a number of sectors.
“The Center for Native American Youth has been a leader in advancing the well-being of some of our most vulnerable children. The Center represents the kind of innovation that can change the national conversation about how we collectively ensure that all children are safe, loved and reach their full potential,” said Dr. William C. Bell, president and CEO of Casey Family Programs.
The dinner event and award presentation included remarks from state and federal experts in child welfare. In addition, Vance Home Gun, a 2013 Champion for Change of CNAY delivered remarks about the importance of giving hope to youth. Vance, who used to be the youngest fluent speaker of his Native language, has led an effort on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana to preserve and celebrate indigenous culture and language.
“Our work is really about Vance and the other 2.1 million Native American youth like him,” said Erin Bailey, executive director of CNAY, as she accepted the award. “We provide a platform for youth to speak, to advocate for their priorities, and to lead inspiring change.”
Also accepting the award was Allison Binney, CNAY Board Member; Ryan Ward, senior program associate at CNAY; and Home Gun. The Casey Excellence for Children Awards recognize outstanding organizations and individuals whose distinguished work, exceptional leadership and relentless dedication have improved outcomes for children and the child welfare system.
“Casey Family Programs has been a leader, deeply involved and committed to improving the lives of children in foster care who are too often invisible and left behind,” said former US Senator Byron L. Dorgan, chairman of CNAY. “Their incredible work and history makes this award to CNAY that much more meaningful. We are honored by their recognition.”