Presented by Alyssa Yeppa and Stacie Barney
Introducing Lana Toya
Our Parent Photo Voice team had the great honor of having Walatowa Headstart Program Manager, Lana Toya, enlighten us with their Photo Voice project and journey. Lana shared information on the project’s foundation, development, motivation and their efforts to transform a head start to a language immersion program in Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico. Lana Toya emphasized to our parents that passion of retaining cultural identity, language, and motivation in our community is only the beginning of great universal family changes that can happen. We were also happy to have the company of Santa Clara Photo Voice Head Start Director and representative at our location.
Lana shared her knowledge on all aspects of leading a Photo Voice project including how to maintain participation. Through her commitment, she has been able to share with tribal leaders of the Pueblo of Jemez the hopes and dreams of parents. Ms. Toya shared how the center shared the Photo Voice projects during a community showcase and an ongoing display. This provided some great ideas for SIPI’s parent team.
Lana shared information regarding her experiences with parent participation in the Photo Voice project. Walatowa’s Photo Voice attracted a high parental involvement because it captivated parents’ interests of their willingness to share their dynamics of family, culture, traditions, and values. Lana shared with the group the amount of planning and commitment required of parents in the project. She also shared her knowledge of how to facilitate a Photovoice project.
Walatowa’s Photo Voice project initiated an ongoing study of how to transform early childhood education in Jemez Pueblo. Lana shared her experience of traveling to other places and other schools to investigate how those schools transformed into a language immersion program. This willingness to change their program derived from the parents sharing their interests through the Photo Voice reflections. Lana and her Head Start staff from the Pueblo of Jemez were able to travel to Hawaii and learn how those schools evolved into a preservation of language, curriculum and even, written language books. It made her realize the infinite potential there is to evolving her Head Start program into a language preservation center.
Overall, this Parent Photo Voice event was a great turnout for visions and limitless ambitions to be developed amongst SIPI’s parent participants. Parents were able to address great questions to Lana. The perspectives parents had for Lana were intriguing and engaging, this could have carried on, but as time permitted we ended the night with a scrumptious dinner.