It’s official, I’m now a California homeowner having closed on our home there this week. After living 30 plus years in the Midwest life is going to change… snow, ice and tornado warnings will soon be replaced with traffic woes and the threat of earthquakes. Fortunately our new home is close to the beach and away from the noise of some of the more populated areas. We’ll be closer to our children and grandchildren, the main reason for relocating. Being near family is important to us but hard to do if you have jobs, we’re both retired now so that made the decision much easier.
We’re putting our current home on the market soon, some folks are showing some interest so crossing my fingers we’ll be lucky enough to sell it ourselves soon as we hope to be in CA by July1. A bit of advice to anyone contemplating a move in the future, go through your house from time to time and clear the clutter. Trying to get rid of old paints, chemicals, etc not used in years, is time consuming and not a lot of fun. We’re making lots of trips around the community finding homes for things no longer needed but are still in good condition. Our goal is to keep as much as possible out of the landfill which is a little easier as we live in a community with good recycling programs and are hoping for the same in CA.
House issues are eating into my sewing time but I still managed to finish some scrap quilt tops using patterns from blog searches and books at the local library. To keep the creative juices flowing each one will be different using patterns that will make the best use of my scraps. Everyone should have a scrap bag, if you don’t have one why not start one with leftovers from your next project. Also finished are 3 T shirt dresses which turned out really cute and didn’t take a lot of sewing time, plans next week are making skirts and skorts for the girls and shorts for kids to match all the tops that were found during recent closet cleaning adventures. I also found some larger pieces of flannel that will be made into burp cloths for our future “baby month” project which will re-stock the clinics in Wanblee and Rosebud. I promise photos in the next blog.
I volunteered at our local library sale this week with all earnings going toward supporting children’s programs and new books for the kids department. My dream is that someday kids on the Rez will have access to their own well stocked library where they can participate in fun learning programs. Following are several notes SFK received this past week from those we work with on the Rez.
From Nurse Debbie in Wanblee.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the condoms! I shared them with a counselor, Beth Carnes, at Crazy Horse School. We’re planning to do a Health Ed presentation at the school this month and we can use more. Other things that would be helpful: small books for small readers, books for infants with touchy/feely, crinkle items that infants can touch and feel. The grocery cart cover was good, play mats would be good too. I think these kinds of things would encourage Moms to “be” more engaged with their infants. May help empower the new mothers, stimulate interest, and encourage exploration. Thanks for the clothes, baby bundles, and diapers. I had some “appear” in my office. I assume they came from you sending them to the High Horses. Thanks for all the things, especially girls’ clothes, I had one patient ask for more girls’ clothes, age 3-12 months, ”because”, she said, “the nurse always has the cutest stuff”. Thanks for making me look good!!!! I told her I would be sure to tell my Christian group that sends me things. Thank you, guys, so very much!! I couldn’t do this on my own, guys. Thank you for all your help! I feel this is a small part of spreading the kindness of the Lord to others by giving so unselfishly of ourselves. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Other things I’m in need of : sugar free suckers, (thanks, I got the two bags sent in the last shipment), small coloring books (immunization related) if possible, small packs of crayons (4-6 crayons to a pack). I’m just finishing up the ones sent 1-2 years, ago!. Thanks, those lasted a long time. Also, stickers are always helpful. These are just small things, but they mean so much to the little ones. Thank you to all who spend hours, knitting, crocheting, sewing, crafting, and /or whatever your God given talent is, even if it is just sharing some of your resources with us. I admire, and appreciate you all. Together, we can make a big difference, one small idea/concern/act of kindness at a time. I also appreciate your prayers, because I could never do this on my own. It’s only by the grace of God!!! Thanks again, I hope you have a blessed week.”
From Nurse Michelle at Rosebud Hospital Women’s Clinic
“Hey Carol, it seems like a long time since we talked. We are still doing well with baby items for now. In the next month we could probably use some baby clothing such as onsies and sleepers, outfits, things like that. Otherwise we still have a pretty good stock pile. Thanks for all that you ALL do for us !” Michelle
From Jerome and Theresa. Jerome is recovering nicely from surgery and eager to get on with his community work.
“We can’t thank you enough for all the great support and assistance, given to the children in our community.
Again thanks to each and everyone in your groups.
We feel the great spirit has blessed us with ANGELS
WOPILA -THANK YOU” Jerome
Check here for the addresses to our programs.
Everything you do for our friends in Wanblee and Rosebud whether it’s sewing, knitting, crafting, sending clothing, party supplies, food, donating funds or just spreading the word about the plight of Native Americans, is greatly appreciated and giving hope and vitality to their communities. You are making a difference! SFK wouldn’t exist without all the kind hearts and skills of our members, so thanks to all of you for a job well done. Stay with us or join us
Jerome High Horse called last week to thank us for SFK’s contributions to the Easter party held on March 23rd. There were many other groups helping make the party a success including “Helping Hands for Rolland ( a facebook page), “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit”, “Pine Ridge Elders” Yahoo group” and the “Rapid City food bank”. “SFK”” operates under the non-profit “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit” with Troy Dukes as Director. From time to time, Worldwide Hunger Relief, a non profit in Wisconsin, sends money to the foodbank in Rapid City so that Jerome and Theresa can purchase reasonably priced food for people in their area which includes those that frequently come knocking on their door asking for help. Food for the party was provided through some food bank purchases, from direct monetary donations to “Hearts of the Sacred Spirit” and from individuals that sent food items directly to Jerome and Theresa.
The party was an overwhelming success with over 500 people attending, ninety percent of them children. The Kennedy Hall looked festive decked out with all the Easter theme items donated. Snow started to fall as children collected their eggs, (about 9,000 of them!), obviously the egg request was heard! Your generous donations made it possible for the children of Wanblee to enjoy the same festivities of the season as our children do. These events give children something to look forward to, imagine the excitement around school as they talked with their friends about getting the “big prize” at the egg hunt. Now imagine the buzz around school on the Monday after the party where four new bikes were won by two lucky boys and girls. Jerome and Theresa had originally hoped to receive enough money to purchase one bike but the donations kept coming, enough in fact to purchase four! We all remember how special we felt getting a new bike as children, can’t you just see those big smiles as they rode off for home on their new wheels?
It takes a lot of work to hold an event of this size and plenty of folks turned out to lend a helping hand. Community involvement is so important as it helps build strong relationships with others and gives people a sense of pride when they participate in a successful event that benefits their families and friends. The party was held in the Kennedy Hall which is the only building available in Wanblee that can hold an event of this size. Unfortunately the hall may soon be unavailable to hold any kind of community function as there are a few locals who want to see the space turned into a casino. Supporters want the change because it would provide employment for 7 people, opponents want the building to remain as it is for the use of everyone in Wanblee. We at SFK stand with the opponents as there have been many improvements in the community since they started holding these events, the most important being a drop in the teen suicide rate. Of course we don’t know for sure this is the reason for the reduction but Jerome and Theresa believe it has helped and so do we.
Pictures of the party will be posted as soon as we receive them. Jerome is having problems downloading them to the website, he’s recovering from surgery he had earlier in the week, and he had to dig out from another Spring snow storm with some drifts reaching 5 feet. Another storm is on its way today.
Progress on Rolland’s home is coming along, it’s being constructed at Jerome’s and will then be moved on a trailer to it’s permanent home. The house must travel 20 miles but they’ll have to wait for better weather before they make that trip. Also it’s probably not a good idea to leave building materials unattended as many people need home repairs and might not be able to resist the temptation of helping themselves to some of the building supplies. Things move slowly on the Rez and there always seems to be problems that prevent projects from running smoothly, but eventually things work out so Rolland should soon be in his new home.
The Daycare Center project needs are ongoing as they are open year round. They still need blankets and pillows for the older children and items to keep 5-12 year olds occupied such as crafting items, games, puzzles, etc. I spent today making pillows for kids from some knit material and throw pillows I found in my closet. I made an envelope pillowcase that can be made in about 20 minutes, can be easily removed and washed regularly especially in the “flu” season. All sizes of pillows are welcome, the kids come in various sizes. I am piecing quilt tops together with my material scraps but they will not be assembled and quilted until I move to my new home. I will share some samples of my tops in a future blog.
Spring is here (I think?) and children will need some warm weather clothing in the months ahead so our project for April and May is summer clothing and footwear for children ages 3-12. Shorts, and T shirts are what most children wear but dresses with matching shorts are a favorite of little girls. Consider making a skort and a T shirt for a girl. For those of you who like to sew, time to get the machines out and those cute children’s prints. For others that like to shop it’s time for bargain hunting at garage sales, thrift stores and department store sales, just remember that used items be gently used. All clothing will be sent to Jerome and Theresa who will distribute them to children in need. Don’t forget to look out for flip flops and other summer footwear to add to your box. If you are sending items, if possible let us know the size as we would like to have outfits in various sizes. Don’t forget to send pics of your finds and we’ll post them on the site. Check out our pattern page for ideas.
Finally I want to apologize for the lateness of this blog. We’re relocating and preparing our home for sale which takes an enormous amount of time. My once busy sewing days have pretty much come to a halt (temporarily!) but the good news is that while sorting through years of accumulation, I’ve found lots of stuff for the kids so will be sending those items off soon.
Thanks so much from Sew For Kids, without you these projects wouldn’t be the great successes they’ve become. It’s all worthwhile to put a smile on the face of a child.
I apologize for not blogging for a few weeks. In the last few weeks we made a decision to move closer to our kids and grandkids, moving from the Midwest to the Pacific West so have been occupied with house hunting, loan application forms, preparing our home for sale and making decisions on how this is all is going to happen in the next few months. I am a little overwhelmed. I have to downsize our house of 30 plus years as we are moving into a much smaller space at a much higher price so have to make decisions on what will go and what will be given away. But I am sewing when I can, which has taken some of the stress off of me. Closing my sewing room door, isolates me from the world that I have to deal with over the coming months. If I was to move, the deal was that all my sewing items would follow me so the new house had to be able to accommodate my needs.
I did hear from the daycare people and they wish to thank all of you who sent in items. Shampoo and soap were really welcomed as some kids are not clean when they arrive, partly due to the conditions at their homes such as lack of running water. Hand towels and bath towels also arrived. Quilts and crib sheets for the babies were welcomed as they need some clean ones available while the soiled ones are laundered.The laundry detergent and dish soap were put to good use as would be expected. Another group I belong to made dishcloths and washcloths. Some new dishes and cutlery for the various ages also were a useful addition to the kitchen. We might need to make some oven mitts and hot pads in the future.
When I was talking to the daycare the other day, they asked if we could provide some activity items to keep the older kids occupied when they attend. They teach them to bead but many get bored and want other things to do. Board games, puzzles card, craft supplies, sports equipment, books in series for that age group etc would be welcome. Any of you who have teenagers know what they like. The younger age children have toys and books to read, admittedly worn, but still functional. There is a playground outside with equipment but the cold weather does not allow them to make use of it often. And while the daycare does serve kids age 6 weeks to 12 years of age, it is geared more to the younger age group who spend the most time there. Any time school is out of session, the older kids attend the daycare which is open 7 am to 8 pm year round. One of the schools that kids attend off the Rez has a 4 day day school week, because of cuts to the education budget, so on Friday many kids age 6 to 12 attend. In the summer more of the older kids will need supervision during the day while their parents are working.
I have been busy piecing together material scraps and upcycling some clothing and sheets to make quilts for the kids at the daycare for the toddler and the older children as they seem to have enough for the babies. I am always amazed at what can be created from a few scraps. The room where they play and rest is drafty so when they lie down on their mat to read, rest or play, they are cold. They still need pillows for the toddler ages when they take a rest so if you can make one for them, it would be appreciated. I am also going to piece material together to make aprons, bibs for the kids and pillowcases for the pillows. I will soon share some photos of my creations.
The Easter hunt is this weekend and should be lots of fun, thanks to all of you who have sent in items to make the day special. Hearts of the Sacred Spirit received monetary donations of $250 plus that will be used for the food for the party with a barbecue planned after the event, if the weather cooperates. I know that some sent money directly to the High Horses to purchase food or items that were still needed. So far they have received plates, cutlery , napkins, Easter decorations, oodles of plastic eggs for the hunt, several bags of candies, school supplies and book bags, 2 bikes for the grand prize, Easter baskets for prizes and for collecting the eggs,,well dressed stuffed bunnies, teddy bears, party favors, etc. We hope we receive photos of the event for all to see their gifts in action.
It is still cold on the Rez with the weather unpredictable from one day to the next. Next month’s project brings us into Spring , hard to say that around here with temperatures below normal and still in the 30s and 40s. With spring, come different clothing needs, so stay tuned.
Thanks from Sew For Kids for your generosity in helping these two projects be successful.
I recently received a note from Jerome High Horse asking if we could help with the Easter party being held the afternoon of March 23. The Easter bunny isn’t part of their traditions but there is an annual Easter egg hunt the kids really look forward to. I know we’re still working on the Wanblee Daycare needs through March, but we have a lot of volunteers that really enjoy working on parties and we thought those folks would love to have the chance to make another party a success like they did with those at Thanksgiving and Christmas. We will do an update on the success of the Daycare Drive late next month.
Jerome shared some really good news during our last conversation. He said since they’ve started having community activities there hasn’t been a single suicide in the Wanblee area in over a year! Oh what wonderful news that is! Youth suicide rates on the Rez are about 3 times the national average. While we don’t know for sure if the activities are the reason for the decline we do know that providing kids with a safe and fun environment in the company of caring adults shows them someone does care about them, gives them something to look forward to and restores their hope that life can get better. Not only have the parties had a tremendous effect on the youth but the entire community at large. The community has grown closer together as they’ve worked on these parties and they’ve developed a sense of pride as they see what they can accomplish by working together and taking charge of their future.
In the past Jerome and his wife Theresa have tried to sponsor a party for the kids but since 500 people are expected they simply can’t afford it. Each year Jerome has to buy more plastic Easter eggs because the kids want to keep the ones they’ve found on the hunt. Why they want to keep them Jerome doesn’t really know but each year he has to replace them. So when you see those plastic eggs going for cheap after Easter load up for next year’s party, you can stuff a lot of them in a box and they don’t weigh much either.
Below is a list of things they would like, most are inexpensive (except the bike) and practical but a big treat for the kids. These kids DO get excited when they get school supplies as most of them either don’t have them or are constantly running out. You can donate the plastic eggs, small toys and some treats or make a completely filled Easter basket for one of the prizes. Not every child will get a prize but everyone will hunt eggs, play games, eat and share a special time with their family and friends. If you would prefer to make a monetary donation to help with the food expenses, etc. please donate to Hearts of the Sacred Spirit and specify that your donation is for the Wanblee Easter party.
“ We need items listed:
1st Place – Bike for child 10-12 years of age
2nd Place – Backpack, filled with school supplies
3rd Place – Filled Easter Basket
Easter Egg Hunt items:
Plastic Eggs- they’ll all be filled with candy and some a winning prize number.
Candy, raisins, nuts etc
Baskets- for collecting eggs in, some will be filled for prizes.
Balls, assorted sizes and types
Backpacks (fill with school supplies for one of the prizes)
School supplies such as paper, pencils, crayons, etc.
Food for meal: Weather permitting we will grill-
Hot Dogs and buns
Hamburgers and buns
Desserts & Cookies
Eggs (they’ll be boiled)
Ketchup, Mustard, Relish
Plastic Ware – Plates, Cups, Spoons, Forks, Knives and Napkins
Your assistance will be greatly appreciated,
God Bless and Thank You
Please help us make this party a special and memorable day for the kids. If you’re donating goods ,let us know what you’re sending so we can see what is still needed. Thanks from Sew For Kids.
Sorry for the delay in getting out information on February’s project which will now probably run into March too. Although we would like to be organized sometimes that isn’t possible as we need to touch base with those on the Rez and responses are often delayed for various reasons. While talking to Theresa High Horse the other day, she mentioned the Wanblee day care center could really use our help. The building is small but does have a kitchen and a washer and dryer. Currently there are 4 employees, 1 cook and 3 child care workers, providing care for 20 children aged newborn to 13. Although this program is funded they’ve experienced cuts just like all programs on the Rez (and elsewhere) and often times their funds show up late each month. Sometimes workers have had to spend their own money (which their families desperately need) to purchase items they need to care for the children.
The center provides free childcare to children of parents attending the local college and those working on their GED. Parents who have jobs such as teachers, etc. are charged a fee based on a sliding scale. Head Start students may need daycare too if no other alternative exists for a working parent as school ends at 2:30 p.m. Daycare hours are from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Let’s help the children and their caretakers by providing:
Bedding and Linens Great way to use up those scraps you’ve been saving!
- Crib sheets (6) – They have 2 cribs currently
- Changing pads (6)
- Bibs, (10) baby, (10) toddler
- Blankets/quilts/afghans (8) baby 30 X 36, (10) toddler 42 X 48, (5) youth 42 X 54. They have plastic mats to put on the floor for nap time but no blankets to cover up with.
- Pillows and pillowcases (8), (standard size) for nap time and lounging and watching TV for older kids.
- Large pillows (6), 20 X 20 or larger to use for sitting/lounging on the floor
- Bath towels (12) and washcloths (24), hand towels (12). Babies and toddlers might be given a bath as some children don’t have running water at home.
- **Training pants, (12) pr.
- **Underwear— toddler size 3T+, boy and girl (12 pr. total), more welcomed! Youth boy and girl, sizes 6 – 14, (12 pr. total), more welcomed! Can’t send too many!
- **Socks, babies (12 pr.), toddlers (12 pr.), children (12 pr.) Can’t send too many of these either!
Kitchen Needs Many items with daily use wear out and need replaced
- Pots and Pans
- cookie sheets (3) and cake pans (2) 9 x 9, (2) 9 x 13
- Casserole dishes, (4) larger sizes
- Knives ( paring, bread etc) , any cooking utensils such as large spoons, spatulas, etc.
- Dish cloths (10) and dish towels (10), pot scrubbers (6)
- potholders (3), oven gloves (4)
- Cups, sippy cups, and drinking glasses, etc. that are unbreakable and BPA free
- Baby bottles, BPA free with a new nipple if used
- **Dishwashing soap (3)
Bath and cleaning
- **Diaper wipes, cloth or disposable
- ** Body wash, baby and adult (6)
- **Shampoo, non tearing and detangler (6)
- Combs and brushes (6)
- **Toilet paper, any amount!
- **Tissues, (6) boxes
- **Diaper cream (6)
- **Lotion, baby and adult (3)
- **Soap, liquid and/or bar (3)
- **Disinfecting wipes, Clorox, etc. (4)
- **Laundry soap (3) liquid or powder
- **Disposable gloves non latex ( 3 boxes )
- **Band-aids (3)
Toys, baby through teen, new or good used condition
- Games and puzzles
- Washable stuffed toys
- Any non-battery toys
- Educational/learning items/crafts – crayons, pencils, scissors, paper etc
- Vacuum cleaner
- Rug shampooer
- High chair
** Denotes ongoing needs
If you can help out with any of the above needs, please let us know here or on our Facebook page. Handcrafted and good used items welcome! If we get more than the requested amounts any excess will be shared with the baby and Head Start programs.
Shipping rates have skyrocketed in recent years so to save money consider shopping online at sites that have special sales and offer free shipping, Amazon and Dollar General are two that SFK uses, we have no affiliation with either. These days money is tight everywhere so if you want to help but can only afford $5, get the most bang for your buck and donate to SFK through Hearts of the Sacred Spirit (a 501c3 organization) and state your donation is for SFK’s Daycare drive. When we receive enough donations we’ll an order online for the heavier things like toiletries and laundry soap, etc. We’re always looking for ways to save our volunteers money, if you have any penny pinching tips please share! All donations for Wanblee Daycare go to Theresa and Jerome High Horse.
We realize most of our volunteers can’t always send to every program and every appeal we make nor do we expect them to. Jump in and help when you can afford it, your help means so much to those who have so little. There aren’t adequate words to explain how deeply grateful we are to all of you for the generosity and support you’ve shown to those folks on the Rez that have desperately needed your help.
This is our final blog on the literacy project but we wanted to share with you some additional ideas given to us by Jan Eggert, who has worked for Head Start in an administrative position for 20 years and was instrumental in getting a literacy project started in her hometown. Literacy does make a difference in a child’s future so it’s important to start it early. Getting books into the hands of kids is the first step but teaching parents about the value of reading to their child and showing them how to use the activities provided to reinforce the learning experiences at school is also important as parents are a child’s first teacher. Reading isn’t something that is just picked up like a language, it has to be taught. Having the tools to work with is also a necessity if kids are to reach their developmental stages on time.
I talked to Lisa at Head start this week and she told me that all HS students were that tested and the results were half the class have learning disabilities and the other half are below average for their age group. Needless to say they need our help and Lisa is excited to start implementing the program for next year’s class.
Jan and her sewing group have volunteered to put together 15 learning bags for the program. Way to go Jan and friends! Following are some of Jan’s suggestions.
“Literacy Bags for Families”
“Literacy Bags are a fun way to provide children and families with activities they can do together at home. Many times the activities supplement the teaching that’s happening in the classroom. The activities can help children develop language, improve writing skills and increase their fine motor skills. Remember to include instructions for parents on how to use items in the bag, what may seem obvious to us might not be to the parent.
There are many websites that can be accessed to get literacy ideas. I like to use ideas that are easy and quick for the teacher to put together, or even better, give parents ideas that use commonly found items around the house.
Here are just a few of the many ideas that can be incorporated into literacy bags.
File Folder Games
- Alphabet: run off a ditto of the alphabet or write your own. Glue it inside a file folder and cover with contact paper or laminate if possible. Give the child a dry-erase marker and they can trace over the letters. Wipe off and reuse.
- Shapes: do the same thing as the alphabet only make shapes to trace.
- Colors: draw shapes and color them on paper (green triangle, orange circle, red square, etc.) Then cut out the corresponding color shapes from colored paper. The child will match the paper shape with the paper in the file folder.
Is a fun literacy bag to send home with a child. Put a stuffed animal in the bag, a teddy bear, dog cat, (whatever is available) and also include a journal book. This can be as simple as some paper stapled together or an actual book if available. Put in a couple of pencils and some crayons. The child takes the bag home for a few days and together the child and parent write about what happens to the animal while in their home. The child can then draw a picture of what they did with the animal. When the child returns the book, the teacher can read it to the class and ask questions of the child, giving him an opportunity to tell about his adventures with the animal.
Here are some ideas for literacy activities that can be found around the house and can also be given to parents. These don’t cost anything and help improve skills that are needed to become proficient readers.
Cut an empty cereal box apart and cut the front into puzzle pieces. The age of the child will determine how many pieces to cut and how intricate. You may want to only cut 3 or 4 shapes for a 2 or 3 year old child, but cut a larger number and more difficult shapes for older children.
Play a game with your child looking for colors and shapes….”I spy something green” or “I spy something square” then have the child look for that color or shape. Maybe a stripe on his shirt, a tree outside, a green crayon. Encourage the child to answer in complete sentences ….if he says “a tree”, repeat “the tree is green”. This helps their understanding of language.
Any activity a child does, whether it’s reading a story together with a parent or older sibling, doing a puzzle, writing or coloring on paper, drawing shapes in the dirt outside, stacking blocks or playing with play-dough is laying the foundation for skills needed to become a successful student.” Jan
We want kids to have fun learning. The act of playing teaches a child so many new ideas and concepts and can be done without fancy or costly toys. Day to day living offers so many learning opportunities if we as parents and educators take the time to teach to the moment.
When you complete a literacy or skill bag share a photo with us here on the blog or our Facebook page as an inspiration to others. All donations for the program whether it is books, empty bags, finished bags, craft supplies, etc. should arrive by June 1 so we can get the program ready and shipped for the new class starting in August. Contact Carol here for the mailing address.
Here are a few of the folders I put together. I still need to laminate the files so they can be used with the white board crayons or pens and reused. I also need to add envelopes to store the pieces and to state the number of pieces to the folder project. Please give credit on the file folder to the person who made a worksheet if you did not design your own. I decided that Corduroy would be a good “traveling teddy” as he likes adventure so added him, a Corduroy book and a folder with lined and plain paper so that mom or dad could write down the adventure and the child could draw a picture to accompany the story.
Have fun designing your folders and bags. Thanks to all of you who are helping to make this project a success. And many thanks to Jan for her suggestions for the bags.
Its been awhile since we’ve done an update on the Wanblee and Rosebud projects so let’s get to it. The winter season has been challenging for everyone as usual, but like us here in the midwest they’ve had periods of mild weather which helps so much with the heating bills and just traveling around the Rez. All the coats and warm accessories you’ve donated have been a blessing and the High Horse’s send their thanks and gratitude for your generosity. Not a day goes by without someone calling for a warm coat or pair of gloves.
Most of you probably know by now the Christmas party and first Parade of Lights held in Wanblee was a huge success. News of the party traveled quickly reaching the entire Rez which probably accounts for the more than 720 people that showed up for the festivities, so many in fact the Kennedy Center couldn’t hold them all at the same time. The party planners were astonished so many came but miraculously everyone received a gift and left with a full belly. The children were especially excited with their gifts and it didn’t seem to matter whether they were new or used. Santa was a huge hit with several kids testing his beard to see if it was real (it was). Jerome got many questions from the kids about how Santa got to Wanblee without snow, he told them Santa flew into Rapid City from the North Pole and he picked him up at the airport and would take him back there to catch his flight after the party. Later that evening Jerome and Theresa delivered forty packages to families in the outlying areas who weren’t able to attend the party. People are still talking about how much fun they had six weeks later.
This year’s Christmas party is already in the planning stages because of the huge response last year. It takes a lot of time and many people working together to pull off a successful party of this size. The most important benefits of holding these events is renewed community spirit and giving people hope which is so needed on the Rez when most of their days look bleak. We can all help next year’s event be successful by joining with those in Wanblee and plan ahead. We here at SFK will be checking out sales, thrift stores and our own closets and kids toy rooms for gifts we can send for the children.
Troy from Hearts of the Sacred Spirit (the 501c3 we’re under) traveled from his home in Delaware to Wanblee recently for a few days staying with Theresa and Jerome High Horse. While there Troy, with donations from his organization, was able to purchase 3 wood stoves for families in need, a log splitter much needed by Jerome and his “Woodchucks” who clean out creeks for area ranchers and deliver the wood to area homes. He also purchased the materials needed to build a home for Rolland, an elderly man who lives in a dilapidated trailer 20 miles out of Wanblee. Nancy Bishop-Ward was instrumental in raising the money needed to build Rolland’s home. Way to go Nancy! Jerome, along with his crew recruited from area volunteers, will begin construction as soon as the weather clears, they hope to be finished in about a week. Items purchased by Hearts of the Sacred Spirit can be seen here. Thanks to all who contributed to the house build project.
During his visit Troy and Jerome also discussed plans on how to best help the Wanblee area. A few of the projects they decided on were a community garden and greenhouse for this year and the possibility of raising chickens in the future. Homes are in dire need of repair on the Rez and Jerome drove Troy around so he could see the needs first hand and take pictures which will help in his fundraising efforts. Go to the homepage of Hearts of the Sacred Spirit to see the pictures and please donate towards this important project if you can, no amount is too small.
Movie night at the Kennedy Hall has begun but they’re still in need of DVD’s for all ages especially younger children. Going to the movies isn’t possible for most people on the Rez due to the long distances they would have to travel and not having money for the tickets even if they were lucky enough to get to a theater. Jerome and Theresa have a wall on the exterior of their home they can project a film onto in the summer months for kids to watch which is a little reminiscent of those drive-in movies some of us might remember from our childhood. They’re able to provide popcorn with the machine donated by the local police force which adds to the “movie” atmosphere. “Movie Night” helps bring the community together and also provides a safe activity for kids on the weekend. If you would like to donate DVD’s and/or regular popcorn (no microwave), please send to Jerome and Theresa here.
The ladies sewing circle is set to begin soon and we have received a list of needs that will be posted in a future blog. We’re so happy to have women from the Rez sewing alongside us helping provide for their and their communities needs. So check your sewing rooms for extra fabric and notions if you want to help the ladies get up and running.
The next community activity is the Easter party which includes dinner, they’re expecting about 500 people to attend. A list of needs will be posted soon, we know they’ll need plastic eggs, candy and prizes for the Easter egg hunt. The eggs will be stuffed with candy and some with numbers for prizes, how much candy they contain and how many winning numbers there are will depend on the donations received.
We’re making some changes in shipping addresses for the Shining Start Program in Wanblee to make it easier for our donors as well as Debbie at the baby project and Lisa at Head Start. Debbie is frequently on the road which makes it difficult to coordinate a time with Lisa to go through donations and put together the diaper bags. So all baby items will now go to Jerome and Theresa (Debbie will pick her things up there) along with clothing items for all ages, blankets, household goods, basically everything except our literacy bags and educational items which will still be mailed to Lisa. The only exception to the clothing rule will be when we have a special request from Lisa for her HS students especially at the beginning of the school year. If you’re sending a box to the High Horse’s and just have a couple of things for HS add them to the box to save on postage, Lisa will pick up her things there.
Rosebud Women’s Health program is seeing an increase of women coming to the clinic for prenatal care and more women are breastfeeding for longer periods. This past week Michelle, RN took an inventory of their supplies and feels they have enough baby items for now but will call again when they’re running low. Good job team for filling up those shelves!
Thanks to all of you that are helping make these projects successful.
Skill bags contain projects that help children learn and practice shapes, numbers, the alphabet, sorting, hand coordination, patterning etc. They can be used in the classroom and/or taken home by students so they can work with their families on the projects. These projects can be added to a literacy bag or put in a separate bag of their own. Check out our Pinterest site for ideas or do a search for “busy bags” or check out the many home schooling and mommy blogs.
Bags can be made drawstring style from durable fabric, size depending on the project inside. Please add a laminated label (can use clear contact paper) around the drawstring with the name of the bag (play doh, alphabet, matching, etc.) and the contents (3 play doh, 1 playmat, roller, etc.) If instructions are needed add them to the bag laminated or in a clear plastic sleeve.
If your bag contains a puzzle or other activity with small pieces make a smaller bag for them and add a label listing contents on the drawstring.
If you want to do a project but not the bag send along and a bag will be provided by some of our sewers. Contact Carol here for the address to send your learning bags. We’re hoping to have these bags and the craft bags finished by June 1 so everything is ready to go when classes resume in August.
Here are some skill bags I made using my sewing machine but you could knit, crochet or use paper, felt, etc. as well. I will add the laminated label and directions to each bag before mailing. These projects were “kid tested” on my 2 1/2 and 4 year old grandsons and they gave them a thumbs up! I plan on adding this page or a facsimile to all bags as a reference for children and parents.
For learning shapes I used this pattern to make a matching game. Fine motor skills are used as pieces are buttoned on (Velcro is easier for ages 3-5) and they learn to identify colors and pattern sequencing too.
For simple memory games I made two identical squares from printed fabrics and also different shapes and colors for teaching memory, colors and recall.
For learning to distinguish size and number sequencing I made 10 squares, each one being 1 inch larger and numbered them from 1-10 starting with the smallest with the color of each square on the back. This activity can be used to learn numbers, colors, size difference, etc.
You can also just use squares of different sizes and colors.
Another simple bag was made using 10 different balls (could be 10 of any item) to which I will add some simple addition and subtraction problems. Kids can also have fun playing with the balls developing their fine motor skills.
To help learn the alphabet I made an activity using two sets of letters capital and small. Kids can arrange letters in alphabetical order grouping them by letter size or play memory games by having a letter or letters removed, sing alphabet songs and play matching games with the colored letters.
I also made I spy books using fabric scraps. They can practice sight recognition hunting for certain items such as a green frog , 2 dogs, etc.
Flannel or felt boards are great for kids, I made one using an old picture frame. Cut out story characters from felt and have kids retell the story using the characters. Use this talk to help you design the felt pieces. This is a good way to measure comprehension and creativity as they can embellish the story or make up a new one.
I made some play doh bags as seen in this blog and provided a plastic sheet, cookie cutters, a roller and a plastic knife. You can laminate “play doh” fun sheets and add to the bag for plenty of learning activities.
Currently I’m making an activity using different colored blocks numbered 1-12 to help learn colors and numbers. This bag is in the beginning phase so will probably add some number cards and other items.
All of these projects were done using mostly scraps from my scrap bag. Most of these activities can also be purchased at any discount store if you’re a non-crafter.
We’ll be working on the education bags until completed (hopefully by June) so there’s still plenty of time to contribute to this important project. We’ve had one generous donor volunteer to complete 20 craft bags! To all of you contributing to this project we say Thank You! We’ll be starting another project for February so check back soon.
For those of you just joining us our latest project is Literacy, Skill and Craft bags for the Wanblee Head Start class. We want to tell you a little more about the Craft and Skill bags in this and the following blog. Craft bags will be given to each child at the beginning of the school year and are theirs to keep at home so they can do the activities in the Skill and Literacy bags. Having these supplies at home also gives them the opportunity to further practice skills such as coloring, cutting paper, writing, etc.
One of our long time volunteers Beulah Lindberg, aka the “Recycle Queen” for making beautiful things from stuff most of us would throw away, has been busy sewing lined craft bags for the project. She has it down to a science sewing “assembly line” style using repurposed flannel and denim from old clothing people have donated. She adds pockets too which is a great place to hold all those small items. So far Beulah has more than 30 bags finished (need 40), now we need your help to fill them. Let us know if you can help with this project, contact Janet here for the address of where to send your donation. She will fill the craft bags and send them directly to Lisa at Head Start. Watch for sales on school supplies to keep the cost of the bag to a minimum.
We would like to fill these craft bags with:
- 3 pencils and a pencil sharpener
- White glue (glue sticks melt in hot weather)
- Crayons 24 count
- Washable markers
- Paper, white plain and lined
- Construction paper
- Pocket folder (to hold the paper)
- Index cards, 1 pkg.
- Safety scissors
We would like to have the bags and supplies by June 1, 2013.
Please, if you can, help us with this very important project. These are very basic, inexpensive items that most of us probably assume all school children have at home as well as at school. Kids get inspired when they attend school and learn new things, they want to show their families what they’ve learned, imagine how sad and frustrated they feel when there are no crayons or even a pair of scissors at home. Our goal is to give children simple school supplies so they have the things they need to learn. Can you help?
A big thanks to Beulah for her sewing skills and her interest in helping kids learn. And thanks to all of you who are helping us make this project a reality.
I talked with Lisa this week about the literacy bags and she said, sadly, no one has come from the main library to read to the children as promised so they’re in the process now of hiring someone who can spend at least 2 hours each school day reading to the kids. She said the books received so far have been a blessing, kids are choosing which ones they want read to them or just browsing through them on their own. It’s so important to read to kids starting as soon as possible so they can start reaping the benefits it offers.
We were discussing the literacy bag and since this is a foreign concept to Lisa and others at Head Start, we’re planning a trial run this spring with teachers using some of the bags in the classroom. Hopefully when classes begin for the 2013 school year in August, the program will be understood and we’ll have enough craft and literacy bags assembled by then to ensure each student has a different bag to take home each week. A parent-teacher night will be needed to explain the program to parents which will also help in having bags returned with all their contents. Getting learning bags home is important as they connect home with school and they allow parents to learn about their child’s current abilities as they practice the skills and read together.
To help you develop activities for our literacy bags we’ve listed the skills/habits a 5 year old needs to have to transition to kindergarten:
- Have current immunizations, doctor and dental check-ups and general good health, eats and sleeps well and gets exercise.
- Have good gross motor skills such as running, jumping, etc that develops large muscles.
- Have fine motor skills like painting, using scissors, coloring or doing puzzles that develop small muscles.
- Be interested and enthusiastic about learning.
- Work independently and also cooperate with others on projects.
- Be able to dress and feed themselves, use the toilet and wash their hands and face.
- Listen and follow directions, help with activities, learn to finish tasks.
- Understand emotions and how to use words to express how they’re feeling.
- Be learning about the world through their senses and experiences.
- Have good language skills so they can express themselves.
- Solve problems by playing matching, memory, I Spy, games.
- Good socialization skills – learning to share and get along with others.
- Conflict resolution skills – dealing with others that want to fight, bite, hit, etc.
- Able to count and recognize numbers 1-10, write their phone number and age.
- Able to do some sequencing/patterning tasks such as what comes next or what is missing.
- Know colors and shapes
- Be able to notice things that are the same or are different.
- Learn to sort and classify – fruits vs veggies, large vs small , red vs green, etc.
- Know the alphabet and write their name.
Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a stash of fabric and while rummaging through it recently found the perfect choices to match the book themes I’ve chosen. See the photos below of some of the bags I have been working on.
I basically used this lined bag pattern, cut my pieces 14” wide by 16” long and used a 1/2 “ seam allowance. Handles were cut 6” wide by 20” long and sewn 2 ½ “ in from the sides. It went together pretty quickly and could also be made with a drawstring top. Next up, working on the activities.
Having read many books to my grandsons, I know that each bag could have activities with colors, numbers, letters and words based on the book’s theme. Kids love rhymes and songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for an insect theme. Kids also love to find things like in I spy games and act out scenes in the story using props. Having FUN while learning is what we’re aiming for.
Check these blogs for bag design, and themes, for learning ideas look at our Pinterest site. I’m sure those of you with small children and/or teachers have plenty of great ideas for early learning, please share your favorites with us. Let us know if you can join us for this project and the number and type of bags you can make. Remember if you’re not interested in making bags, book donations are always welcome.
Exposing kids to books on varied subjects and getting parents to read to their kids 20 minutes a day gives parents the chance to positively interact with their kids and builds strong life long reading practices and a love for books. Thanks from Sew For Kids.