San Diego American Indian stories are brought to you by Southern California American Indian Resource, SCAIR.

SCAIR-Tribal TANF Recognition and Awards 2011

By Roy Cook

The stars shine brightly in the Viejas Valley. The tables in the Viejas Dream Catcher Entertainment center are artistically decorated with stars and a chocolate kisses centerpiece for this Awards and Recognition ceremony. The true stars this evening are the TANF participants who are the recipients of achievement awards. This event is sponsored and coordinated by Southern California American Indian Resource Center, SCAIR administration and learning center.

SCAIR is located in Alpine and downtown San Diego. Wanda Michaelis, Cherokee, is the Executive Director of Southern California American Indian Resource Center, SCAIR and Bill Johnson is the SCAIR Board President and the evening Emcee.

SCAIR both administers and participated in partnership affiliations with: Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF services. Both organizations’ are under the wing of the Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association.

TANF Lynne Ray Smith is in good form this evening, greeting guests and families. He recognized the Manzanita and San Diego TANF team members. Emcee Bill Johnson followed by acknowledging the SCAIR Alpine and San Diego staff and stated the basic mission of SCAIR is to help our qualified Tribal citizens.

TANF Lynne Ray Smith is also the evening’s inspirational speaker. As he describes his life’s athletic gifts and educational opportunities he also shares the challenges that have brought him to where he is today. He gives major credit to his family for constant support and guidance. His stated purpose for this inspirational message is to show, by personal example, that by effort and determination the true lessons of leadership can encourage and inspire anyone to succeed. He ended his presentation by introducing the Luiseno Bird Singers from Pala. Wayne Nelson and his Northern-style Bird singers brought a fine stimulating set of favorites and two-step songs. This special presentation was well received by all. Lynne then invited all to a nutritional experience.

Randy “Burt Reynolds” Edmonds, Kiowa-Caddo, is the selected elder for the blessing of the nutritional experience this evening. This is a fine night for good food, good company and a great time together.

Lynne Ray Smith continues the presentations by focusing awareness on the TANF Manzanita and San Diego participant accomplishments. Additionally highlighted are three participants: One is enrolled at SDSU and is currently the student club president. Another is attending Kumeyaay CC and is completing the course on computer networking. The third is in the OJT program in the AI Health Clinic in San Diego. All awardees were listed on the event program contact TANF for specific details.

SCAIR President, Bill Johnson announced two special accomplishments of the program: ‘Kirah’ Longnecker received a mobility aid to assist her continued education. Also, a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the Alpine School District. Finally, he restated the basic goal of the SCAIR organization is to help our Indian children.

Teen Talk presentations and SCAIR-TANF testimonials preceded the awarding of the certificated and shadow-boxed awards. This evening twenty-six stars shined brightly. Congratulations!

We hope to see many more participant accomplishments at many more these happy events. Mehan.