Navajo Prep after school teacher gains national recognition for helping community

Navajo Prep after school teacher gains national recognition for helping community

A Navajo Prep after school activities coordinator is getting national recognition for making that happen, helping her community.

SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. -Creating after school programs for students is no easy task. Often there’s a great need for them, especially in our rural communities.

Now, there is one after school activities coordinator who is getting national recognition for making that happen in her community. 

“I’m really passionate about trying to provide them everything they can possibly need to succeed in life,” said Teahonna James-Belin, an after school activities coordinator at Navajo Prep High School. 

The Afterschool Alliance Organization’s list of Ambassadors for 2024 is out. Navajo Preparatory’s, Teahonna James Belin, is one out of the 15 Ambassadors from across the country chosen to recognize this year.

Belin became the after school activities coordinator when the school received their 21st Century Grant almost five years ago. 

“Things that have been shared with me is that, you know, there’s so many more options available for students now with the program we have currently than we ever have before here at Navajo Prep,” said Belin.  

According to a survey conducted in March 2022 by the Afterschool Alliance Organization, 80% of program providers were concerned that children in their community need after school programming but are unable to access it.

“I know that there’s a lot of youth today that just don’t have the opportunity or the individuals there to learn from,” said Belin. 

The main focus with the 21st Century Grant, said Belin, “was academic support of course, Diné language and culture perpetuation and then self-efficacy skills.”

The majority of Navajo Prep’s students live more than 300 miles from the school. So, their after school program stays open till 9 at night.

“I love that we have it so late. Nowadays, jobs are so different, hours are different. So I like that there’s that longer time span and I feel like you have a larger opportunity to really get to know the students,” said Belin.