Happy Holidays to all of our Sew For Kids supporters. Thanks to all of you, we accomplished a lot, helping both the community of Wanblee on Pine Ridge Reservation and the Women’s Health Clinic on Rosebud Reservation.
Well, what exactly DID we accomplish?
Each month for the 10+ babies born on each reservation, nurses Debbie and Michelle were able to provide each newborn with a new diaper bag full of clothing and, as the winter months neared, you started sending winter goodies, then added warm blankets, hats, mittens and snowsuits. There are a lot of babies on the Rez that are well clothed and warm because of your generous donations.
For the SIDS program several sleepsacks were donated to help with this initiative, they will have more of an impact in the warmer months as winters on the Rez are harsh and the homes are too cold to just use a sleepsack, even with clothing underneath. Many of you knitted, crocheted and sewed quilts, blankets and afghans and also made hats and mittens, with much love I’m sure. And several of you made or bought swaddlers that can be used in the first 2 months of life to comfort a crying baby. Can’t you just picture the little ones all warm and snug?
With the nurses encouraging breastfeeding more babies got a healthier start in life. Moms were more likely to continue with breastfeeding when provided with the needed tools to do so. Nursing pillows, reusable nursing pads, and nursing covers for privacy were all appreciated by women and made them feel special. The push is on to keep moms who can breastfeed to do so for at least 6 months and preferably up to a year.
The Head Start was blessed with clothes and shoes, making it possible for all 40 children to come to school ready to learn the day school started. Socks, shoes and underwear were especially appreciated by parents as most can’t afford to buy them for their children and are always in short supply. Socks keep feet warmer and having extra underwear available at school helped with toilet training and also with those little classroom “accidents”. And again as the colder months approached, warm coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots started to arrive. Kids were able to go outside and play at home and school which is important for emotional and physical health.
The Baby Face program, serving moms with children aged 1 month to 2 years, was able to give out items to moms at home visits and at education sessions. Mothers were really excited at the education sessions when THEY got to choose items for their child.
All the programs benefited from your donations of books, toys, and other educational items. Parents were provided with these items and the guidance on how to work on developmental skills with their children. For the next few months we hope to work on children’s “learning bags” for all the programs. The nurse at Shining Start appreciated the coloring books and pages, crayons and books that helped keep the kids occupied in the waiting room. All of the programs were so happy to have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, biscuits and popcorn for their clinics and educational sessions. It was a huge hit with their clients and they would love to have more for the future.
The Closet received warm clothing, coats and winter gear for children 6+ and their families. Many of you sent much needed blankets, towels, sheets and other household linens as well You helped provide food, gifts, and other items that helped Jerome and Theresa High Horse host a Thanksgiving party where 240 people ate a very nutritious meal and children had a fun and safe environment to enjoy the holiday.
The first Parade of Lights held on December 15 was a memorable one with 12 floats participating. Santa arrived on one of the floats and became part of the celebration in the Kennedy Hall. Santa emptied his bag full of goodies giving each person something to take home, thanks to your generosity and others from various groups. There isn’t enough space to list all the wonderful donations the High Horse’s received for the party but we want you to know of the 720 people that attended no one left hungry or empty handed. All of the winter coats that were donated were given out to anyone that needed one. Needless to say the party was a HUGE success!
2013 brings more needs and challenges, we all have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and their families through various programs and projects we’ll participate in next year. Everything we sent this year will be needed next year along with some new items we’ll need for the literacy project, Rez sewing group and the movie/game night for children in the Wanblee area. Stay with us as we work together with our Rez teams to help improve the lives of Lakota families. Providing opportunities and resources gives people hope that things can change and your help shows them there are people out there that care about them and their future, especially their children’s future.
Thanks to each and every one of you for making 2012 a truly special year.
We wish you all a safe, healthy and happy holiday season
Check out this link to see the people involved in the Shining Start Program and your gifts in action.
And a holiday greeting from our friends in Wanblee SD