Pokagon youth gets more active and confident with HLC

Citizen Steven Girard joined the Healthy Lifestyles Campaign this year to get healthier. He initially just wanted to lose weight, but since starting this journey, his goals and achievements have broadened beyond what he imagined.

Steven welcomed Stacy Young, PHS behavioral health counselor, onto this journey with him, and together they discovered all the ways Steven could achieve his goals and create new ones.

Steven started by meeting with Stacy regularly. Then he began playing sports in his free time instead of only playing video games in the evening. His gym teachers started noticing a difference, seeing that Steven was trying to get the most of out his gym classes.

“I knew I needed to put in a decent effort,” Steven said, and Stacy says he was committed from the start.

Steven says that at first, he was just balancing his unhealthy habits with new, good ones, but now he’s mostly choosing an active lifestyle, far more than his old habits.

“Instead of just sitting on my couch and playing Call of Duty all day, and just eating a giant meal at the end of the night and just going to bed and let that fester inside my body, I’ll eat healthier, and I’ll usually do sports a little bit and take breaks and spend time with my dad and my dog,” Steven said.

He’s been playing basketball and disk golf. He plays disk golf with his dad, which is his favorite new activity. Steven even learned how to ride a bike.

“I didn’t know that I could have a different lifestyle, but I wanted to have a
better one,” Steven said.

Steven’s active lifestyle has also built his confidence. He attended Kë Gbéshmen for the first time this summer, and he went on the canoe trip with Language & Culture, his first time canoeing.

“That took a lot of confidence,” Steven said about going on the canoe trip. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to canoe, but I made it through five hours without tipping.”

Steven says he’s learned “way more” about his culture while participating in HLC and during tutoring through the Education Department.

Steven completed a special project at school, constructing and displaying posters there that shared about Pokagon history, culture, and language for his classmates.

Steven’s lost weight, he’s more active, more confident, better understands his culture, and now he’s working on developing healthy sleeping patterns.

“I’ve seen a lot of growth in Steven, as far as confidence goes, and his willingness to try new things, and that’s really translated into a lot of areas of his life,” Stacy said. “His relationship with his peers and his dad and the tribe—it’s been an all-around good thing for him.”

If you want to set your own goals for a healthier lifestyle, call Pokagon Health Services at (269) 782-4141.