AOPPYC is Bridging the Gap Brings Elders and Youth Together

Kyle Knox

Gila River Indian News


Gila River Indian Community youth and elders have embarked on a virtual sharing of knowledge and wisdom among the generations through the Akimel O’odham/Pee-Posh Youth Council’s Bridging the Gap discussion series. Discussions are held for one hour on Saturdays throughout May, concluding on June 5. 


Bridging the Gap is an intergenerational discussion series that allows elders to share their life experiences growing up in the Community and various topics, including language, culture, history, and more. 


This venture is a combined effort of the AOPPYC and the Community’s Council of Elders and Elderly Concerns Group. The goals are to provide space for healthy conversations between the two groups and address specific learning objectives from each party. 


The goals for Community youths include learning the GRIC language and culture, discovering resources available to them and learning valuable life lessons from their elders. In contrast, the goals for elders are to provide healthy conversations for their mental health, social well-being, building connections in the Community, and learning to utilize technology like the iPads used for each session. 


“Our elders have a vast knowledge of our language, history, and life experience. You combine that with the energy, creativity and enthusiasm of our youth, and you have a powerful gathering,” said Michael Preston, AOPPYC Coordinator.


The May 15th Bridging the Gap discussion focused on the importance of introductions for the O’otham, formal language when addressing family members, marriage, and traditional patrilineal and patrilocal systems in O’otham culture.


Jada Young found the discussions rich with teaching. “In my first sessions, we created a circle where the elders would say a phrase in O’otham, and then the youth would repeat it,” she explained. “It was so supportive and encouraging, and I learned how to pronounce many O’otham words better.” 


AOPPYC President Susanna Osife described the discussions as “inspiring,” and said she would like to see more youth attend. “What I find most important with Bridging the Gap is how one generation of young people and another generation of our elders have come together to ensure that the quality of our culture, language, and community are taken care of and preserved,” said Osife.


Bridging the Gap only has a few sessions left. However, AOPPYC Coordinator Michael Preston shared that they are likely to host more in the future. The remaining Bridging the Gap discussions will be on May 22, 29, and June 5 at 1 p.m. For more information on how to attend as an elder or youth, please call 520-562-1866 or visit