This past week I talked to those in charge of the programs we support on the Rez so I wanted to update all of you. Your donations are arriving and items are going out to those in need, especially to all the new babies arriving. Debbie (public health nurse in Wanblee) was on her way to a town outside of Wanblee to check on 5 newborns that had made their arrivals earlier in the week when I reached her on the phone. She was a little more excited than usual to greet the new bundles of joy as she came bearing gifts that all of you have sent in to the Shining Start program. She wants to give a huge thanks to each and every one of you that has contributed to this program.
Debbie’s a busy gal, she also holds health clinics, the most recent one was getting children ready to attend Head Start which begins later this month. Although the turnout was a little disappointing, 30 attended an earlier clinic down to 6 for this one, it was still a success kids were vaccinated and given physicals and dental exams. Children got to choose a few books to take home with them and a lot of smiling faces could be seen leaving the clinic. The next and last session will be held August 15.
Debbie will also be the visiting nurse for Crazy Horse School this year, funding is down so last year’s nurse couldn’t be re-hired. She will do flu and immunization clinics at the school, take care of simple health issues that need attention and teach teens about their bodies, STD’s, puberty, etc. She’s trying to find ways to make teens feel comfortable about coming to her with issues they can’t get help with at home and since there are a lot of teen pregnancies on the rez she wants to educate them about contraception. She’s also planning to teach some classes at the college for parents on some of the medical and safety issues they’re likely to encounter when raising their children. I must ask Debbie when she sleeps!
Debbie is also setting up some bookshelves in her office to build up a lending library with the books she receives about pregnancy, breastfeeding, parenting, healthy eating, medical care, etc so send those along if you have some taking up space on a shelf. Kid’s books are always welcome by the clinic, the Head Start and Baby Face program ,using any opportunity to get books into the hands of children( 0-5). Books should be sent thru the Shining Start address.
Especially encouraging is a report that more women are breastfeeding at the hospital. The challenge is to get them to continue for at least 6 months or longer. Michelle, the nurse on Rosebud Reservation, told me many more women were breastfeeding there but that many stop earlier than the recommended time so she’s holding lactation clinics they can come to for support. She wants to thank all those who’ve sent in items for the prenatal and lactation clinics, she’s putting them to good use.
Lisa, the Head Start teacher in Wanblee, has been back to work for 2 weeks now. The first week was spent at the main college (they operate the HS program) getting updated on the latest information for the new school year. Last week she was back at the school preparing classrooms for the children who will start classes next week. She said they will have 40 kids this year, 20 in the 3-4 year old class and 20 in the 4-5 year old class. Only 6 parents have sent in their registration papers so she’ll be busy tracking the families down this coming week.
Head Start needs clothing donations so they can change kids that have “accidents” and those that get dirty from school activities. At the present time they have NO clothing at the school so they need our help. They need clothing in sizes 3-5T, shoes sizes 6-9, socks and underwear (especially 2-3T). So with school soon underway our next project will be making or purchasing long sleeved shirts and pants for the cooler fall weather. Watch for our upcoming blogs on how we can help the Head Start with their needs.