GREAT FALLS — Shanell Lavallie, a teacher at Whittier Elementary School in Great Falls, was a keynote speaker at the recent Indian Child Welfare Summit in New Mexico.
Lavallie explained, "I just felt very grateful because I love teaching. But another part of my life that I really want to keep in my life is that child welfare advocacy and helping to be a voice in that aspect."
Her speaker biography states:
Shanell Lavallie (Aaniiih & Nakoda) is from the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Shanell is in her third year of teaching and is a 4th grade teacher at Whittier Elementary. She aspires to pursue her Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership at Harvard School of Education. Shanell is very passionate about the foster care community and has participated in a variety of opportunities provided for former foster youth.
The event was held to reflect on the positive outcomes of the Indian Family Protection Act along with other topics to help those from the system and the ones still in the foster system today.
Lavallie said, "The kids that I reach naturally in my classroom, there's an opportunity that was recently presented to me like last week, and it's an opportunity. I don't want to go into too much detail, but essentially they asked me if I would want to mentor teens that are currently in foster care because again, research is showing that a lot of kids that are in the foster care system benefit from having a mentor. I'm hoping that that works out. Fingers crossed, because I really do want to mentor kids that are currently in the system."
Click here to read more about the conference.