Each year, the Aspen Institute’s Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) selects five up-and-coming Native change makers between the ages of 14 and 23 to serve as Champions for Change. CNAY then works closely with each Champion to develop their leadership and advocacy skills through tailored resource sharing, mentorship, skill building, and networking opportunities.

Damien Carlos, Tohono O’odham Nation
Age: 19
Hometown: Sells, AZ

Damien harnesses the healing powers of ancestral lands to help Native youth battle feelings of isolation and depression. In connecting Native youth to Mother Earth and Tohono O’odham culture, Damien builds relationships with young people that help them reconnect, build confidence, and recognize their self-worth.


Isabel Coronado, Muscogee Creek Nation
Age: 21
Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK

After witnessing the effect of incarceration on Native communities in her home state, Isabel helped create the American Indian Criminal Justice Navigation Council. AICJNC is an initiative of the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board that trains successfully reintegrated ex-offenders to help others navigate the criminal justice system.

Read the full article about the Native American youth changing their communities at The Aspen Institute.