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Native Youth in Oregon Experience First Washat Service at Youth Villages

The first traditional Washat service for the Cedar Bough Native American Program on Youth Villages Oregon’s Christie Campus was held recently.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Community Counseling Center recently facilitated the first traditional Washat service for the Cedar Bough Native American Program on Youth Villages Oregon’s Christie Campus in Lake Oswego.

Youth Villages Oregon, a private nonprofit organization, helps children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families live successfully by providing residential treatment and Intercept intensive in-home services. The Cedar Bough Program offers culturally responsive residential treatment for Native American youth and others who can benefit from strong cultural influences.

The traditional service brought elements of spirituality, traditional healing and community into the Cedar Bough Program. Tribal youth participated by singing along, swaying to the drum or remaining silent in prayer. Once the service ended, Warm Springs staff explained each element of the Washat service and its significance to healing.

The Warm Springs visitors also held a talking circle where youth were able to share how the service made them feel, what they enjoyed about the service and anything else that was on their minds or hearts. For most of the youth, the traditional service made them feel at home and calm, they reported.

Although some of the Cedar Bough youth did not participate in the Washat service, they were still able to connect and relate to the songs and the drumming. Staff from the Cedar Bough Program gave the Warm Springs community members gifts of appreciation for providing the service and their cultural support.

Youth Villages Oregon has been helping children and families live successfully in the state since 1859. Formed through the merger of ChristieCare and the national nonprofit Youth Villages, the organization uses its Evidentiary Family Restoration approach, which involves intensive work with the child and family, a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible, and providing accountability to families and funders. Using this approach, Youth Villages consistently produces lasting success for children.

One of the nation’s first and largest providers of intensive in-home services, Youth Villages this year will help more than 22,000 children and families in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.youthvillages.org.