Youth Council works with task force

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


While the Community actively combats the spread of COVID-19, testing trends show that positive cases among youth demographics are among the highest in the Community. To address those under the age of 21, the COVID-19 Task Force will be working with the Akimel O’odham/ Pee-Posh Youth Council (AOPPYC) to assist in promoting health and safety to the youth. 


Michael Preston, AOPPYC Coordinator, said, “The GRIC COVID-19 Task Force was seeing a rise with infections among youth and thought the youth council could help.” They will assist by producing messaging catered to the Community’s youth population.


As of June 29, 76 of the 260 positive cases in the Community are under the age of 21. That’s a total of 29% of the infected population. 


AOPPYC members will assist the task force with videos and imaging aimed at youth to stay home, wash hands, and wear masks. Preston said, “The Youth Council members have to research their message, write the scripts, and then film and sometimes edit them before submitting to the Tribal Health Department or CPAO.” 


The media created will be distributed on popular social media platforms to drive home the urgent messaging. 


Hunter Nish, AOPPYC president, said, “Everyone has their role to play right now. That is to stay safe at home and take precautions if you leave for essential services. And we must work alongside the task force to further our understanding of what’s being done for the Community in regards to COVID-19.”  Nish is looking forward for the youth council to be a part of this work since it affects everyone in the Community. 


“The truth of the matter is that our situation will not get better until we decide to do better,” said Nish.

Their work begins with guidance from the Tribal Health Department and the Communications & Public Affairs Office to ensure messaging is accurate and abides by task force standards. Photographs and videos are currently being produced by the council members and will begin distribution in July.