I’ve been traveling over the last few weeks and have been out out of “blogging commission”, now that I’m back it’s time for an update on our programs and some Rez news. Tornadoes and wildfires have hit some areas of the Rez over the last few weeks with some families evacuating their homes. Fortunately no one was killed but people are dealing with the aftermath of the storms and fires. They are experiencing an extreme drought this summer which makes conditions ideal for the spread of wildfires. The areas we’re currently helping, Rosebud and Wanblee, were left untouched but we’re keeping our ears open to see if there are needs for children in the areas that were affected.
Nurse Michelle, who heads the Rosebud Reservation’s baby programs, emailed me and said they’ve been getting lots of positive feedback from their patients about the diaper bags and other baby items she’s received from us. She would like to thank everyone that’s contributed to her program. In Michelle’s program each client is given a diaper bag and a baby item such as a blanket, bib, etc. is added to the bag each time a patient receives her monthly checkup at the clinic and other prenatal care such as labs, education classes, etc. that are essential to deliver a healthy baby. When it’s time for delivery she gives the filled diaper bag to the new mother at the hospital. Michelle also gives out incentive items such as toiletries (toilet paper is a favorite) when they come in for pregnancy labs. Although it seems women should just want to come to the clinic because they want to have a healthy baby, the fact is many of them are teens who aren’t aware of how important good prenatal care is to the health of their baby and themselves so the incentive is just another “nudge” to get them in the program.
Michelle should be able to start advertising the program soon if she continues to receive the generous support from our donors. Hopefully the incentives will encourage more moms to come in for care with the moccasin trail helping to spread the word to other pregnant women in the area. She did say she needed more diaper bags to put your donations in so if you can make or purchase one or have a gently used one send it along with your next box. Make sure your bags don’t have any formula advertising on them, they can’t give them out due to the new breastfeeding initiative on the Rez which by the way is starting to show signs of success.( another article) She also said the nursing pillow (boppy) has been a huge success in the lactation clinic and they could really use more of them. Check out these past blogs here and here and our free pattern page for making diaper bags and nursing pillows. Here is a pattern of a nursing pillow that you can use. You also might find a nursing pillow that is in very good condition that just needs freshening up so make a new cover.
Nurse Debbie, a member of the Shining Start program team in Wanblee, says the diaper bags, all the baby items and nursing pillows we’ve sent have been a huge success in her area too and she could use more of everything. Debbie covers Wanblee, it’s surrounding areas and the town of Martin. She gives out the diaper bags (backpacks work for her as well) when she makes her first postnatal visit to the new baby and mother usually around two weeks after birth. There’s a new midwife in the area and Debbie has been communicating directly with her and getting women’s delivery dates ahead of time so she can do lactation counseling prior to delivery. Communication has been a problem in the past so hopefully that will improve with the new midwife which will make for better health care for women.
Lisa, another member of the Shining Start team, is a Head Start teacher in Wanblee. Classes began in early August and has kept her very busy these past weeks. Boxes continue to come to the PO or her home address. They had a total of 34 patients take advantage of the three Head Start health programs, those that didn’t come will have to go through the regular clinic to get their physicals and immunizations for school. Our previous blog asked for clothing items for the children and we’re happy to report we met and greatly exceeded our goal thanks to some very generous donors. We had several people contact us by Facebook, email and our Yahoo group saying they were sending large boxes of clothing for the kids. They should have received or soon will have enough clothing to keep at the school and also to give to any child in need and want to send out a huge thanks to all of you who so generously donated to them.
School is back in session on the Rez and soon cooler weather will arrive with flu season not far behind. Immunization clinics will be held soon in hopes of getting families in for their shots and more education and health sessions, sponsored by the Shining Start team, will be held at the local college. Hopefully we will be posting pictures soon of the team in action. Some of the items you’ve donated such as clothing, books, toiletries, etc are given to those attending these health programs. They would like to make the sessions have a more inviting feel so have asked if we could help provide some popcorn (not microwave) and hot chocolate. The team is also working on another program that will focus on the building and strengthening of the family unit. We’ll be posting more information on this new and we feel very needed program when we receive it.
For those of you who have items to donate for older children ages 6 and up and adults, please send them to Theresa High Horse, who receives goods for The Closet program also located in Wanblee. This is a separate program and not part of the programs of Shining Start. Theresa and her husband Jerome work one on one with people in need so all your donations will be gratefully accepted and used locally. There’s talk of the possibility of a storage building being built in Wanblee which would be a blessing as storage facilities (and housing) are in short supply on the Rez. We’ll keep you informed about the building, please keep your fingers crossed!
Well it’s back to sewing for me, I have three weeks to make up for! Nursing pillows and diaper bags are on the top of my list this week. A special thanks to each and every one of our wonderful donors, you’ve helped make life a little easier for some very special people on the Rez.