Archived Webcast Information

Photo of Drew Allmond

Drew Allmond

Photo of Nerissa Birdsell

Nerissa Birdsell

Photo of Heath Ducheneaux

Heath Ducheneaux

Photo of Cline Griggs

Cline Griggs

Photo of Whitney Jones

Whitney Jones

Photo of Yasmin Avila Guillen

Yasmin Avila Guillen

Indigenous Community-Centered Solutions: Best Practices For Serving Indigenous Populations

Presented By:
Drew Allmond, EdD, NYCP Project Director, Virginia Tribal Education Consortium

Nerissa Birdsell, ESS Teacher Lead, Baboquivari Unified School District, VCU-RRTC Program Development and Strategic Support Manager

Heath Ducheneaux, OST VR Counselor and Youth Transition Coordinator

Cline Griggs, Former Wt Mountain VR Director and current Administrator at Rainbow Treatment Center

Whitney Jones, Coordinator, Oyate Circle University of South Dakota Center for Disabilities

Yasmin Avila Guillen, MA, CRC, Business Services Coordinator, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
April 24, 2024

Organizations discuss effective models created to better provide services to Indigenous youth and adults with disabilities in Indian Country. Presenters will discuss the challenges faced and the actions taken to form Indigenous Disability Service Models.


Drew Allmond spent more than a decade as a faculty member at Temple University in Philadelphia before becoming the project director of the Virginia Tribal Education Consortium's (VTEC) Native Youth Community Project (NYCP) grant in 2022. This five-year grant facilitates collaboration between Virginia tribal nations and external community stakeholders to provide college- and career-readiness opportunities for Indigenous youth. He also provides editorial support for Virginia Humanities' "Virginia Indian Initiative," an effort to update and expand Encyclopedia Virginia coverage of each Virginia tribal nation's respective culture and experience. Drew completed a doctoral degree in Education Leadership in 2020.

Nerissa Birdsell is an educator, transition specialist, teacher leader, and consultant. Nerissa has been an educator for 19 years in rural public school, Baboquivari High School, in Arizona holding multiple roles; special education teacher, transition specialist, coach, mentor, and Instructional Leadership Team teacher leader. As a Transition Specialist, she developed  the school district's transition program, designed the program's framework, and implemented activities centered on students' education, exposure, and experience in preparation for the students' post-school life. Nerissa has presented locally and nationally, sharing her work in transition and her experiences working in Native American community and disability field. She continues to collaborate with service professionals on creating career opportunities for students. Nerissa values relationships with families and respects their community's culture and traditions.

Heath Ducheneaux is a citizen of the Cheyenne River Lakota. Currently a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor/youth transition specialist for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Vocational
Rehabilitation Program.

Cline Griggs was born in McNary, AZ and grew up in Whiteriver also spending his summers in Canyon Day. He is of the tí’ slèdñt’í dn clan (“cottonwoods joining people”), born for the t’ùàgàidn clan(white water people). He is married to Dorthea (Armstrong) Griggs for 40 years they have four children and 11 grandchildren. Since graduating from Alchesay High School in 1984, Cline has continued to gain knowledge in the Apache Way of Life. For the last 39 years Cline has work for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Presently as a Behavior Health Tech, with Rainbow Treatment Center. 4 years on the White Mountain Apache Tribal Council, 15 years at the Tribal Education Department, 13 years work to improve the lives of tribal members with disabilities with the Work Adjustment Program and the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. He is also served on the following Boards: Theodore Roosevelt School, Fort Apache AZ; Riverside Indian School, Anadarko, OK; WMAT Community Development Corporation. Other community involvements includes: Parent Advisory Council for Cradleboard Elementary School; Arizona State Independent Living Council Outreach Committee; Lectures at local schools, ceremonies, and conferences on White Mountain Apache History and Culture.

Whitney Jones is an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and resides on the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation in south central South Dakota. He is a survivor of Residential Boarding Schools attending from 1976 -1988 both in St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain SD and Flandreau Indian School in Flandreau SD.  He received his BA in Counseling with an emphasis on Chemical Dependency from Sinte Gleska University in Mission, SD.  After graduation, he worked at the tribal Indian school, Saint Francis Indian School. Then, he worked in the mental health department of the school. For the next five years, he worked as a Mental Health Counselor. He continued contact with the Center of Disabilities and helped the University get students signed up for LEND. In October of 2023, he was offered a position with Oyate Circle and the Center of Disabilities. Since working with Oyate Circle, had had the chance to present in Washington DC and work with different organizations, and continue to learn more about this field. 

Yasmin Avila, the State Business Services Coordinator at Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services, fosters partnerships to help employers understand the benefits and ROI of disability employment and consults on ADA compliance, Reasonable Accommodations, and inclusion. With degrees in Law and Business from El Salvador, she brings expertise from a successful career as a Human and Civil Rights Supreme Court Clerk. Yasmin holds a master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Arkansas and a certificate in Fostering Diversity and Inclusion from Yale School of Management. Passionate about her role, she spent 5 years in various positions within ORS, contributing to its mission. A proud wife and mom, Yasmin cherishes family time and sees the success of those she serves as her own.