On July 16, 2020, the NB3 Foundation hosted a virtual Visiting Relatives Gathering with seven Community Partners from New Mexico as well as two guest speakers, Celena McCray and Waylon Pahona Jr. The gathering created a space for our relatives to share their organization’s “pivoting” during COVID-19.

Each organization or tribe, showed a short presentation about the steps they took to continue their activities. The conversations were inspirational and you could hear the strength it took to embrace the challenges we face today. Stories included shift from in-person programming to virtual activity meet ups. Resources and ideas were shared amongst the group especially using social media and technology to effectively engage their youth and communities.

This word cloud above is a depiction of the positive themes and ideas that came about during the Virtual Visiting Relatives conversation with community partners: Keres Children’s Learning Center, Zuni Youth Enrichment Project, Tamaya Youth and Wellness Center, Pueblo of Laguna, Running Medicine from Native Health Initiative , Spirit of Hoops with Mountain Chief Institute , and NB3FIT.  All the community partners came together to learn from one another about the pivoting that is happening during this pandemic in a positive way to keep moving their work.


Special thanks to guest speakers:


Celena McCray, is a tribal member of the Navajo Nation and her clans are the Bitter Water People born for the Mountain Cove People. She serves as the THRIVE (Tribal Health: Reaching out InVolves Everyone) suicide prevention project & WA DOH Parenting Teens – Project Coordinator at NW Tribal Epidemiology Center with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. She provides suicide prevention training, technical assistance, and develops culturally appropriate media campaigns and resources related to suicide prevention. Celena assists adolescent health project staff with www.wernative.org, the national multimedia health resource for Native teens and young adults. She also wrapped up her Masters in Public Health studies this year at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health in Portland, OR.

Waylon Pahona Jr. is Hopi & Tewa/ Maricopa grew up on the Hopi Reservation. He spent more than ten years within the Gila River Indian Community employed by WIA (Workforce Investment Act), as a Youth Coordinator for five years and five years with Gila River Health Care as a Lead Staff Trainer. Waylon is well known for transforming his life and being the founder/creator of Healthy Active Natives (HAN’s). The HAN’s social networking group on Facebook currently has over 75,000 HAN members nationally and internationally. Waylon also received the Healthy Innovation award by IHS Indian Health Services for his social media group and he is also an Ambassador for Tanka Bar jerky and currently the Wellness Director of the Fort Mojave Tribe.