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Chickasaw Children's Village celebrates 20 years of nurturing First American students

The Chickasaw Children's Village in Kingston, Oklahoma, recently celebrated 20 years of providing a safe and nurturing home-like environment for First American youth.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the institution's success has resulted from a concentrated effort to focus on what is important, the young people and meeting their emotional, spiritual, social and physical needs.

"We have determined all these years to do our best to get it right," Governor Anoatubby said at a reception commemorating the 20 year anniversary of the children's village. "When it comes to the children's village, I really do believe we got it right.

"All this time, there has been a focus on what's important. While we're commemorating this moment in time, let's also reflect on these two decades of profound and transformative impact this program has had, and the facility has had, on the lives of hundreds of youth."

Governor Anoatubby said the overriding goal is the same as when the Chickasaw Nation first invested in the future of Chickasaw and other First American children.

"The inception of the children's village was born out of a desire to provide a nurturing environment for our young people – a place where the challenges of the present are met with the enduring strength and wisdom of our Chickasaw history, courage and heritage.

"We're just as committed today and remain committed to fostering resilience, personal growth, the cultural identity of all of our students. The success stories that emanate from this village demonstrate the profound impact this place has had on lives," he said.

Governor Anoatubby expressed appreciation to Chickasaw Children's Village's employees and supporters.

"I am grateful for these 20 years, grateful for the dedicated employees, for the generous supporters we've had in this vibrant community in which we live and the Kingston school system. We have relied upon you, and you've come through for us and for our students. We appreciate all of you and all the community that surrounds the children's village.

"Your contributions are the foundation upon which this institution stands, enabling us to lift our children toward a brighter future – and to the program management team, whose visionary leadership has guided the children's village from its inception to the thriving community it is today. Your strategic oversight and passionate commitment have been pivotal to this program's success," he said.

Governor Anoatubby said students' parents and their families play a vital role in ensuring positive outcomes.

"To the parents and families of those who have lived here, thank you. Your trust and openness have been crucial to the children's village's mission. Your collaboration in this journey has enabled us to create a supportive and effective environment for growth and for learning."

Governor Anoatubby said First American children who reside at the Chickasaw Children's Village are the centerpiece of its enduring success story.

"And to our children, really the heart of the Chickasaw Children's Village, your perseverance, courage, and growth – you're an inspiration to all of us. You embody the future we strive to build, and your success is our shared joy and our ultimate goal.

"In this endeavor, we want to draw upon our shared history, a history full of examples of perseverance, of unity and of an unwavering, conquering warrior's spirit.

"As we look forward to the future, let us carry the spirit of gratitude and collaboration that has brought us to this point. The path ahead is bright with promise, and together we will continue to nurture a community of hope, safety and personal development for generations to come."

Sallie Wallace has served as the Chickasaw Children's Village director since the facility opened on its 160-acre grounds along Lake Texoma. Wallace said she and her staff have assisted numerous tribes from Texas, Arkansas, Kansas and Washington state.

"For a number of years our students have maintained an overall GPA (grade-point average) of 3.0 and above," Wallace said.

"With respect, honesty and integrity, passion, sympathy, empathy, love and devotion to the children's village, we are 20 years strong. We are so proud to be a part of this great Chickasaw Nation," she said.

Chickasaw Children's Village applicants must be First American students in grades 1-12 and eligible for enrollment in Kingston Public Schools.

Designed as an alternative to the dormitory approach to housing students, each cottage accommodates approximately eight students and two house-parents who offer support, direction and guidance. In addition, students have access to a library, computer lab, mental wellness resources, an agriculture education facility and recreation areas.

Students at the village attend the Kingston school system, where they are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities. Tutoring services and flexible academic curriculum are designed to meet the needs of every student, including courses for college-bound, vocational, remedial, special education and at-risk students.

For more information, visit Chickasaw.net or call (580) 564-3060.

 

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