Days after our last blog was posted we received word Kimmie has received one of the grants she applied for. She put in 12 hour days for two weeks working on this grant and all her hard work paid off when she was awarded $30,000 to rehab the shelter inside and out and another $50,000 that will be used to help 15 clients from the shelter for a year as they transition to new housing. Most women and children can’t return to their previous abusive homes and don’t have the money to acquire new housing. This grant will help pay the deposit and first two months rent while clients look for work. Rent payments will decrease gradually over the next six months with the client assuming full responsibility thereafter. Clients will receive help with furnishings and other needs and receive education as they begin their new lives. Kimmie received the grant in person and while there was asked to serve on the board of the organization as they work to find solutions for homelessness across the country. She will be the only Native American on the board and if this project succeeds more funding could be available in the future. Congratulations Kimmie for all the hard work you do making life better for your people!
The garden project has begun at the youth center with 15 kids showing up to help on the first day, hopefully their enthusiasm continues. NAHA brought sunscreen in their last shipment so they’re asking kids to use it while out in the hot SD sun. Sun hats can be used and is a quick project for our sewers to make if interested.
Picnic tables and sun shelters are on Kimmie’s wish list for the shelter and the youth center. It’s a lot easier to get funding for the shelter than the youth center but she does get some money for the center from the casino’s allotment of monies to communities quarterly for youth, elders and families. It isn’t a lot of money but it helps . Thru Native American grants she has received help for specific programs such as her Isnati (coming of age) program for girls.
My Space Youth Center
Kimmie says the swimming program is a success and swim suits have arrived but they could still use more. Towels will be delivered this weekend when Laurie Allen makes her way to Martin from her home in Kansas. She gets donations of towels and sheets from hotels when they’re replaced and this is something we could all inquire about in our local communities. The kids will have to turn in their towels to the center before they leave so the stock should last for a while. They have a washing machine and dryer at the youth center so can wash the towels. Kimmie received money from the SDSU Extension office to buy swim passes for the kids but has gone through all those funds and there are still kids that want to swim but can’t afford the $25 for a pass. If you would like to help these kids join the fun this summer you can send your donations to Lakota Friend’s Circle and note your donation is for swim passes for the kids in Martin.
After swimming Kimmie says the kids come back to the center famished. She didn’t get funding for the summer food program she applied for but she did arrange for a bus to take kids to American Horse school where they can receive lunch on weekdays and many are using the program. Food needs skyrocket during the summer without the school provided breakfast and lunch so they are making sandwiches daily for kids at the center. Our fund at Lakota Friend’s Circle is growing and this month we put $100 on Kimmie’s account at the local DakotaMart food center and also added another $200 from donors requesting their donations be used for the youth center. Now Kimmie can shop for fresh food such as fruit, veggies, milk, bread, cheese and eggs at her local grocery. She gets the rest of the food she needs from the food bank in Rapid City for 18 cents a pound, unfortunately a round trip to the city usually runs about $200.
Kimmie said that 7 girls are participating in the Isnati program which starts this weekend and lasts for 4 days. A midwife came to the youth center this week to give a presentation to the girls about their bodies, birth control, STD’s, etc. before setting off for their ceremony. Kimmie has received more funding to continue this program which she feels is so important for the girls as many get little or no information about these subjects in their home environments. Mothers can also participate in the program with their daughters which can be an important bonding experience for them. For many years this ceremony wasn’t praticed but with the help of knowledgeable elders it is enjoying a revival, boys have a coming of age ceremony as well.
Current shelter and CDC needs are sports bras M-XL or regular bras in 34-38 in B through D cups. Barb Reinert sent several dozen underwear to the shelter thru R.G. Riley. She wants to see the quality as would be a good source to help women and kids. Carol Austin makes underwear for the kids as have some of the other members Christine Widman etc and the kids love them .
More women are coming to the CDC at the end of the month needing diapers, formula and toiletries. Kimmie is encouraging some of these women to use cloth diapers so needs diaper pins and plastic pants or other waterproof cover as well as cloth diapers. Kimmie doesn’t have disposable diapers for use at the shelter on a regular basis so will be using cloth ones there as well. The diapers can be made from old towels, T shirts, flannel, etc. Patterns can be found here or you can cut a 27 inch square or a 27 x 20 inch rectangle from suitable fabric and finish the edges with an overlock or zigzag stitch. Tote bags are needed to hold the diapers and supplies. Pamela A and Deidra Q-H made some in the past for the shelter.
Laurie and her friend are making a whirlwind 2 day trip to the Rez this weekend to set up the library in the youth center and we’ll be sharing her photos and a full report soon. She has collected 300 books over the past year but more will be needed as we think of different ways to get books into the hands of mothers so they can begin reading to their children as infants. She will also make a stop at the elder center in Wanblee to drop off some items and meet Jerome.
Sewing supplies and fabric are needed for both the youth center and the shelter. Sewing machines will be delivered in early August when Janet S. makes her trip to the Rez, but if you have a machine to send they can always be used by women in the community. Thanks go to all those sewing dresses for the girls, wish we could see all those beautiful, smiling faces wearing their new dresses! Thanks to Margaret H, Joan Deaver’s group (Hands in Service), Lanetta Sprout and Janet S for the last group of dresses heading to the kids. More thanks to those sending all the beautiful summer clothing, shoes, bathing suits and toys for the kids. You’ve all helped make the summer months a little brighter and a little more fun!
There is always so much need in the areas we serve but we plod along, do the best we can and help when and where we can. Thank you all for whatever you choose to do. Donations for Martin can be sent here.