Mikeesha Watts said working for the Wolverine Den day care in Vian is a great summer job for her and is helping her save money for her school clothes this fall.
Watts, 17, who lives in Vian, is one of several youth employed through the Cherokee Nation's Summer Youth Employment Program. Her job, which she started in June and lasts for six weeks, includes taking care of the older children ages five to 13 who are school age but also assists with the younger children if needed.
“It's a great job. I love it!” she said.
“Sometimes the kids tell me jokes or give me special little hand shakes. They're really intelligent kids,” she said.“The younger kids are fun too except when they're in their terrible two's,” she said, jokingly.
Watts, a senior, said after graduation, she plans to attend the University of Arkansas (Fort Smith) and obtain her CNA certificate, then go for her nursing and registered nursing license then look into continuing in the medical field as a physician.
“Working in this program helps me strive to do my best in everything. Whether it's taking care of the kids or cleaning or whatever needs to be done,” she said.
“I thought about one day becoming a pediatrician but then I decided I would like to be able to help more people needing medical services so I really don't want to limit myself,” she said.
In addition to her job, Watts serves on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Youth Council.
“We help veterans and offer our input to the Cherokee Nation Council about issues which affect the youth we represent,” she said.
“We also learn a lot from our meetings and discussions and we learn about our Cherokee Language. I can recognize a few words,” she said.
In addition to attending the meetings,Watts said the youth council is exposed to their culture in other ways such as traveling to various places at times.
“We just recently returned from a trip to North Carolina to learn about our ancestors and the Trail of Tears. It was my first time to travel out of Oklahoma and my first time to go there. I enjoyed it and I learned a lot,” she said.
Watts said her summer job is not her first. She also worked as a waitress and a dishwasher at one of the local restaurants in Vian.
“I loved working there also and learned a lot,” she said.
Watts, a middle child between her older sister and younger brother, lives with her grandparents George and Faye Wildcat.
“My brother is my biggest supporter of everything I do. He's younger but he pushes me beyond my limits,” she said.
“I've never lived anywhere else but Vian. It's a small town and everyone pretty much knows everybody. We're like family here. That's what I like most about it,” she said.
When Watts is not working, she enjoys running and takes part in track at school.
“I'm hoping I can obtain a scholarship from track,” she said.
“I don't do much else. Im just into running and work,” she said, smiling.
“But running helps me keep up with my work.”