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BLING helps Native American girls find better life

They come from reservations and tribes all over the United States to Riverside Indian School in Anadarko; girls from homes, where poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence and suicide is all too familiar. Some of the girls have no mother in the home, some have no home. These girls have little hope for a better life or even belief in their own worth as human beings.

A new program at Riverside, Believing In Native Girls, or B.L.I.N.G. has been offering these girls ages 12-18, hope for the future and a better life in the present with a little bling added.

Forty girls celebrated their graduation from the program with a special Oscar-themed ceremony on May 6 at Riverside. Each girl received a star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" and an "Oscar" with a $50 gift. A chocolate fountain and theme snacks were featured, and entertainment was provided by Little Mike and Funny Bone, Native American hip hop artists.

Through the 24 weekly sessions during the school year the girls learned coping skills, a belief in their worth as persons and increased confidence that they can make a better life for themselves. Since the program began seven years ago, 500 girls have been served, said Director Deborah Scott.  Scott has received requests for a similar program at Riverside for boys and she is hoping to recieve funding to begin a program for them in the fall.

The Lawton Constitution

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