Karuna Colectiva helps change youths’ perspective


Navajo Times | Ravonelle Yazzie
Kyle Dayea and Cris Chavria sell Karuna Colectiva products at their booth on April 30 during the 62nd annual Nizhoni Days Powwow.

Kyle Dayea was struggling with his academics and had found himself in summer school. He was a freshman that year and hadn’t passed all of his high school classes at the Native American Community Academy.

“When I was at a bad focal point in my life, I was doing bad in school,” Dayea remembered. “I met Jake through summer school and from that year, ninth grade all the way to 12th, I’ve gained so much knowledge from him.”

He’s talking about Henry Jake Foreman, the founder of Karuna Colectiva, a youth cooperative that utilizes a “work, learn and earn” model.

This innovative program, which started a few years ago, focuses on helping students at NACA who are having trouble in school and teaches them entrepreneurial skills. “It’s a way to really teach them about cooperative development, but even more importantly to exercise their soft skills – their communication skills, their cooperation skills, their creativity and their critical thinking,” Foreman said. “My hope for the young people who are participating in the Karuna Colectiva is first of all to make their own job,” Foreman said.

For Dayea, who is Navajo and Hopi, it changed his perspective on how he was able to support himself financially. “I built skills on how to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “How to start your own business, how to make money, how to find real jobs out there.”

This perspective has led him to consider three different trade jobs that he can use to create his own small businesses. “I want to do welding,” Dayea, from Lupton, Arizona, said. “I want to be a mechanic for diesel engines and also a truck driver.”

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Categories: Education

About Author

Pauly Denetclaw

Pauly Denetclaw is Meadow People born for Towering House People. She was raised in Manuelito and Naschitti, New Mexico. She was the co-recipient of the Native American Journalist Association's 2016 Richard LaCourse Award for Investigative Reporting. Denetclaw is currently finishing her degree in multimedia journalism from the University of New Mexico - Main. Denetclaw covers a range of topics including genetic research, education, health, social justice issues and small businesses. She loves coffee, writing and being with her family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @pdineclah