BrainWise and Indigenous Populations

Posted On: June 25, 2024

In college, Matt Sena taught BrainWise at a youth center in Grand Junction, Colorado and wrote his Master Thesis on BrainWise and young fathers. Twenty-five years later, he is a BrainWise Master Instructor, member of the BrainWise Board of Directors, and cherished colleague.
Matt has taught BrainWise to thousands of youth and adults, written grants, helped evaluate outcomes, and trained educators and other professionals throughout the nation, including Alaska. He spent several years as a counselor with Chugachmiut, a tribal consortium that provides health and social services training to seven native communities on the Kenai Peninsula.

Matt introduced BrainWise soon after he arrived and helped organize a training for tribal leaders and educators in 2005. The program’s positive outcomes led Indian Health Services (IHS) to list BrainWise on their registry of effective programs for Alaska Natives and Native Americans in 2017. Matt trained additional educators with the Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) in 2015and 2019 See Issue 43 – More Kodiak Community

Longtime BrainWise Advocate Melanee Stevens taught BrainWise for 14 years to Chugachmiut youth and adults before taking a position as Education/Project Director for the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in Oakville, Washington in 2019. Melanee

Melanee’s work includes one-on-one counseling and groups with youth and adults. She says that even though she spends less time teaching adults, they appreciate and quickly learn to apply key Wise Ways to their problems.

Her expertise as a curriculum developer gives her insight into the different curricula available and she knows staff can be overwhelmed by the choices. She offers guidance and tells them that “adding BrainWise will help make their programs better without creating more work.” She shares outcome examples that show how the program’s tools have helped others address problems similar to those they face.

She happily shared her experiences teaching BrainWise to indigenous youth in the June BrainWise newsletter: 


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