Alumni Spotlight
Meet three impressive Boys & Girls Club alumni who embrace their Native American heritage and give back to their community.
Native American Boys & Girls Clubs: 20 Years

The partnership between Boys & Girls Clubs and Native American communities is vital to many after-school programs and summer activities. Clubs provide a safe place to meet friends, find homework assistance and explore new activities and opportunities. On Indian lands, often opportunities for academic excellence and career exploration are rare. The dynamic Clubs bring to reservation family is an important link to a young person's success in life.

Meet three Club members who have excelled academically, given back to their Club and community, and are proud of their diverse cultures.


MorganMeet Morgan Talty, the Maine 2009 Youth of the Year, from Indian Island, a small island made up of Micmac, Passamaquody, Penobscot and Maliseet tribes. A member of the Penobscot Nation Boys & Girls Club, Morgan describes his home as "a mystifying place." Indian Island is part of the Penobscot reservation and is home to some 600 people.

During his senior year of high school, Morgan noted that he "had something" while at the Boys & Girls Club. He soon began to volunteer at the Club. Later, he gained an opportunity to visit Spain, and, while in college, he studied in Ireland. Through these international experiences, Morgan is comparing different cultures and histories and learning about himself and his community in the process.

Today, Morgan is a student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. Prior to Dartmouth, he attended Eastern Maine Community College, maintaining a 3.9 grade point average and participating in the college's 2012 All-Maine Academic Team. Talty's academic focus involves writing and languages and he plans to pursue a career in these fields.


MeganA native of Metlakatla, Alaska, Megan Gunyah represented her state and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southcentral Alaska as the 2009 Youth of the Year. An active Club member for some 10 years, Megan also worked as a Youth Camp Counselor, helped younger Club members with homework and volunteered with community events.

While in high school, Megan maintained a 4.0 grade point average and served as junior class president and student council secretary. She balanced her academics with sports, serving as the captain of the varsity basketball team, volleyball captain and cross-country team member.

Megan continues to excel. She is currently a junior attending Community and Technical College, University of Alaska, Anchorage, where she made the 2012 Dean's List in Health, Physical Education and Recreation studies. After earning a bachelor's degree in physical education, she hopes to return to her hometown to work with the Annette Islands School District.


JerryKnown as Jerry to friends and family, this Club alumnus is originally from Mescalero, New Mexico, and while he associates himself with the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation, his family originates from the Lakota and Navajo tribes.

In 2000, as a Club member of the Mescalero Apache Boys & Girls Club and the Youth of the Year representing the state of New Mexico, he was awarded a college scholarship to Stanford University in California. He then continued his studies at the University of Arizona, where he completed his master's degree focusing on public health.

In 2009, Simmons applied for a three-year suicide prevention grant for the Mescalero community. After being awarded the grant and selected as the program coordinator, Simmons was faced with a cluster of teen suicides. He knew he needed to quickly take action and began looking at communication tools teens use every day. He began to use social media as a way to provide much needed support, reach out to teens in need, and create an emotional safety net for those who were not sure of where to turn.

Simmons continues to expand his knowledge of public health and suicide prevention and, as a firm believer that there are not enough American Indian mental health professionals, he is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

After completing his degree, Jerry plans to develop effective interventions targeting American Indian youth, adapt effective evidence-based models to American Indian communities in culturally and linguistically compatible way, and help reduce health disparities affecting American Indians by influencing health policies.

Heritage: Past and Present
From Maine to Alaska, many Club members have embraced their Native American heritage, the opportunities their nearby Boys & Girls Club provided, and now serve as role models to others on Indian lands. These three outstanding alumni noted above continue to inspire and impress. Each is a living legacy of our Native American Clubs and all these Clubs offer our young people. Each represents a rich heritage and a bright future.

Age Category 16-18
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