Billy Mills Announces $100k in Native Youth Grants on Anniversary of Gold Win
Fifty-two years after winning Olympic gold in what has been called the greatest race of all time, Billy Mills (Oglala Lakota Sioux) has announced the third year of the Dreamstarter grant program to help American Indian youth bring their dreams to life.
Ten native youth with projects related to education will receive $10,000 grants from Running Strong for American Indian Youth.
Mills co-founded Running Strong in 1986, for American Indian Youth to help others live their dreams.
“It is a sacred service to teach the next generation,” said Mills in a press release. “Education gives our youth the tools to take their creativity and inspiration and build it into a new future.
“I’m so proud of everything our Dreamstarters have accomplished,” said Mills, who grew up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “They give me hope for a strong future.”
On October 14, 1964, Billy Mills won the 10,000 meter race at the Tokyo Olympics in an upset, come-from-behind victory that has served as inspiration to Native youth and all Americans ever since. He is the only person from the Western hemisphere to win that event.
Mills and Running Strong named 20 Dreamstarters in the first two years of the program. Previous years have awarded grants to projects that centered around the themes of “Wellness” and “Arts and Culture.” Successful Dreamstarters have come from communities and Tribal nations across the United States, and have ranged in age from 14 to 29.
Through the Dreamstarter program, Running Strong will give away 50 $10,000 grants over the five-year period to support Native youth’s dreams for their communities. Youth apply in partnership with community nonprofits to implement the programs. At the end of the grant period, Running Strong will choose five projects to be eligible for an additional $50,000 grant.
Projects have included a mentorship program for young Native dental students, a wheelchair basketball camp for Native youth with disabilities, a project to turn traditional Crow stories into children’s books, and many more.
Running Strong for American Indian Youth brings local expertise together with the support of thousands of donors and supporters to create healthier, happier, and more hopeful futures for American Indian youth.
To learn more about the Dreamstarter grant program, visit: http://indianyouth.org/Dreamstarter
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