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How A California Tribe Is Trying To Revitalize Itself, From Cradle To College

It began with everyone in the Corning-Paskenta Tribal Community doing their parts.

There were home visits to new parents, a deep look at how to boost early-reading skills,and programs to help middle-schoolers avoid substance abuse and violence.

There were four years of surveys and research on what worked and what didn’t. And there were dozens of meetings that reached out to many groups normally left out of policy discussions, such as teen parents and migrant workers.

The goal was to fundamentally change the trajectory of a tribe where per capita income is only about half the California average and less than 25 percent of children in grades K-8 have the language, writing, and math skills needed to reach state standards.

Now, the effort is getting some help. The Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians has become the first tribe to win a federal Promise Neighborhood grant, which aims to transform distressed communities by funding “great schools and strong systems of family and community support,” according to the website.