AOPPYC Workshops Sharpen Talent and Community Knowledge for Youth

Kyle Knox
Gila River Indian News



The Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council launched its second series of youth workshops in February with the final session concluding March 27. The workshops support up-and-coming and experienced youth artists while also supporting healthy interaction during the pandemic. Youth input from the 2020 Akimel O’odham/ Pee-Posh Youth Conference led to the workshop topics based on what youth want to learn.  


“The workshops present a great opportunity for youth to learn or develop a skill while also interacting with one another and working with local artisans,” said Michael Preston, Youth Coordinator. It is encouraged for all youth to sign-up beforehand to participate in the art workshops.


Preston recruited local Community artisans to facilitate the workshops to help youth learn how each facilitator found success with their craft or area of expertise. For this series, the workshop topics include clay pottery making, painting, necklace beading, social media branding training, yarn weaving, and concluding with a “Close Up” workshop. Each youth who participante will receives an “art kit” before the workshop. The kits consist of all the materials necessary to create the topic of the workshop, including clay, paint, paintbrushes, yarn, and beads.  


Clarice Johnson attended the first workshops last year and is attending more this year.“I had previously joined the beading workshop last year, and it changed my life,” said Johnson. “After the workshop, I got more beading supplies, and now I make earrings in my spare time.”

Jada Young regularly attends the workshops and recently attended a painting workshop led by Paul Molina. Young said, “It was so cool, we sketched a sunflower and then painted it onto a canvas. It turned out so nice, and I had a great time.”


The workshops will conclude with a one-day “Close Up” for high school-aged youth. The program explains the GRIC constitution, governmental branches and structure, tribal sovereignty, and Community planning and decision making. This year’s Close session will challenge participants to consider a Community response to the pandemic and how they would approach it.


Parents, guardians, and youth interested in signing up for the remaining workshops, can do so by visiting or by emailing