Kellogg Grant to Build Family Model

Nov 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 9-3: Responsible Welfare Reform, Tribal College News

A group of tribal colleges in Montana received a grant last summer from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop a family-centered educational strategy. The project assumes that tribal college student success depends upon family success. It is designed to serve marginalized populations, such as individuals and families on welfare who may lack high school diplomas, face challenges in reading and writing, and have been unemployed for long periods, according to the project coordinator, Iris Heavy Runner (Blackfeet), a professor at the University of Montana in Missoula.

The three year grant includes Fort Peck Community College, Stone Child College, Blackfeet Community College, and Salish Kootenai College. Each college will hire a family specialist who will help coordinate the various services available to families from federal and tribal governments.

The project will focus upon documenting research and developing models with students doing some of the research and writing. “I think we [tribal colleges] have always focused upon families to some extent, but we’ve never had the opportunity to formalize our work,” Heavy Runner says. She will research the theoretical models; and the family specialists will research the local governmental, cultural, and spiritual elements. Eventually the project will develop and share family-centered curriculum and models. Heavy Runner, who is writing her doctoral dissertation on cultural resilience in tribal college students, has already discovered some previously unreported support networks, such as father/son and brother/sister who share grants and transportation.

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