Youth day part of ‘cure’ for social ills

Three girls in chairs.

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
The crown of Miss Sháá’tóhí Precious Tsinnijinnie falls off of her head during a game of musical chairs at an inaugural youth day event in Shonto Canyon, Arizona, last Saturday.

SHONTO CANYON, Ariz.

A young woman in her early 20s recently died here as a result of violence. Some are viewing it as a result of the community’s failure to invest in the youth. Now, some say there is a cure.

“We need to open up our doors to people who are impressionable to things that are going on around them,” suggests Winnifred Bronston, secretary-treasure for Shonto Community Governance. “They need to open up to us, and let us know what’s going on in their lives.”

Bronston says that is why the community is making an effort to provide activities for the youth, and to encourage children to study hard and stay in school. Shonto Chapter, along with three other agencies, sponsored an inaugural community youth day event here under the cottonwoods last Saturday.

More than a dozen children, teens, and adults alike came together to eat good food, play games, and have fun. “It seems like the community always wanted to have a youth day,” Bronston said. “We had community members come into the chapter expressing their feelings about the youth, (saying) how impressionable they are. And there were some concerns that were brought up.

“It seems like our community has been trying to hold the youth together,” she continued, “giving more opportunities to grow, to better themselves, and not to have any type of violence or suicidal thoughts.” But the community is not exempt from suicide mortality, violence, and other social maladies such as alcohol and illegal drugs, said LeRoy Thinn, pastor at White Post Covenant Church, who provided wisdom that resonated with the youth.

“It’s sad to say that these things are increasing,” Thinn said in an interview. “We’re addressing them and we’re trying to help people become aware, and trying to get everybody involved.”


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Categories: Community

About Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is the Western Agency Bureau reporter for the Navajo Times. She covers the western half of the Navajo Nation, including Page, Tuba City, Kaibeto, Cameron, Tonalea and Shonto. She can be reached at kallen@navajotimes.com.