Our Wanblee Program Updates

My garden is in and producing well, my mother-in- law has settled in for her 4 month summer visit to the Midwest and my daughter’s family moved from Los Angeles and is now living in their new home in our community for a year so I’m now free to get back to my blogging without all the pressures that preceded this blog. Although I’ve been remiss in blogging, the sewing machine has still been busy.

There was another reason for my vacation from blogging. While working on our project with the Rez we ran into some issues that had to be addressed on their side before proceeding with the project. A new location had to be found to receive and store our donations which is a challenging task as space is very limited on the Rez.  A member of the “Shining Start” team volunteered a space in her home to store goods so that problem has been resolved.

Just a quick refresher of the two programs we’re currently assisting in the Wanblee Area of the Pine Ridge Reservation. The first is the “Children’s Closet” which supplies clothing to children aged 0-12 and the second is “Shining Start” which is involved with health and education issues in the community. The name “Shining Start” was chosen to reflect the main goal of the program; getting children and parents into early preventive health care and providing education on various health topics so children get a healthy start in life from day one (conception on) and helping parents stay or get healthy and learn about their family’s needs. “Shining Start” is comprised solely of professional individuals from the various Rez services volunteering time in their off duty hours, with the community college providing space for the clinics and education sessions.  The team members are the following :

1. Public Health nurse and other clinic people, they focus on immunizations, STI’s, prenatal and two weeks postpartum visits, physicals, dental visits and health education sessions for the community.

2. Head Start teachers who work with children ages 3-5 and their parents so they remain actively involved in their education

3. “Baby Face” program personnel, they work with parents and their children ages 2 weeks to 3 years mainly through home visits.  Program similar to Early Head Start in other areas of the Rez.

4. Personnel from the Eagle Nest Branch of Oglala Lakota College in Wanblee where various education sessions and clinics are held.

A very successful community immunization clinic was held May 18th at the Eagle Nest College Center with 30 children being vaccinated and many people receiving education on various health topics.  Recipients got to choose items (incentives for attending)  for their families from the many donations sent to the Rez by SFK members and followers of this blog. Children got to choose a book to take home, thanks to all of you who sent them in.  Debbie said it was really rewarding to see all the smiling faces as the children left clutching their book.  Getting kids started reading early is so important but this can only be achieved if books get into the hands of the children and parents read to them. Parents receiving the gift incentives learned about the “Shining Start” group, who they are and what they do which is mainly promoting good health, disease prevention and education.

Some upcoming events are a Head Start Round-Up held monthly during the summer to prepare kids for the first day of school when Head Start resumes in early August 2012.   The dates for this program are:  June 20, 9am-Noon, July 18, 11am–3:00pm,  August 15, 11:am-3:00 pm. Dental exams and physicals will be available for new students entering Head Start and  immunizations will be updated for anyone in the community.  People prefer to come to these sessions as there is a long wait at the clinic. Other programs for teens including STI and HIV screening  and discussions on prevention will be held at the college center and the Pow Wow or when they visit the local health clinic. Items for education sessions are needed from time to time and if we’re able to help we will.  Many parents are under the age of 20 with a high number of children being cared for mainly by teen moms so they need education.

We would like children ready to start school so please help us stock the “Children’s Closet” with clothing items and shoes (size 6-9 for Head Start ages).  Nurse Debbie will continue with her weekly prenatal, postpartum, elder and diabetic home visits so items will be needed for that. Check our list of needs for the kids in our programs here, the Baby Face program will have needs for their home visits as well. Both programs, Head Start and Baby Face would like incentives for their monthly education sessions that children and families attend together. A meal is provided with hopes of encouraging parents with children in the 0-5  age group to attend, ask questions and become acquainted with others in their community.

So start your engines, get out those sewing machines, knitting needles and crochet hooks and let’s help supply these worthy programs with some much needed supplies.  If you’re not a sewer or crafter and would like to contribute there are plenty of things that have to be purchased such as shoes, coats, books, school supplies and toys.  Items like laundry soap, hygiene and health products, toilet paper, etc. are great gift incentives to give families attending the sessions.  These things are always needed and money is tight on the Rez. Future blogs will highlight specific needs of each group and feature patterns or ideas to make them. Send us your ideas and patterns to help inspire all of us in the creative process.

Please send donations here to the High Horses.If the items are specifically for the Public Health Nurse please put a note in the box stating that the items are for Debbie Knispel RN. Otherwise the items will used in the other programs: Head Start ages 3-5 years and the Baby Face program ( early Head Start) ages 2 weeks to 3 years, the Closet.  State which program if you have a preference.

Join our Yahoo group Sew For Lakota Kids to participate in our drive needs. Questions email me here or leave a comment on this blog. Thanks from Sew For Kids.

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