Teachers returned to Marty Indian School two weeks ago to prepare their classrooms for the new school year beginning August 21. Teachers met with the new elementary principal, Mr. George Erdahl, and new school superintendent, Gina Curran, who was promoted from her previous job of principal to her new position where she will oversee the entire school. Kids are always excited to get back to school to see all their friends but for these children it also means receiving regular meals at breakfast and lunch and help with other needs they did without over the summer.
Janet S., co-administrator of Sew For Kids, visited the school a few weeks ago and delivered 4 sewing machines for Paulita’s sewing project, books and school supplies for the third grade and clothing, shoes, jackets and many other things for the Feather Store. Mr. Erdahl gave Janet and her husband a quick tour of the school and they left with a very good impression of both him and the school. We’re sharing some of their pictures and pictures from Penny N visit last year below. I’ve since had a nice conversation with the principal and found him to be very friendly and personable and feel our group will have a good working relationship as we did with Gina last year. He was very grateful for any help we can provide for his elementary students.
Sew For Kids volunteers have been busy this summer shopping sales for school supplies and shoes and sewing pencil cases and backpacks. Many volunteers have already shipped their donations and others will be sending theirs soon. Toiletries such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc. are always needed and can be sent anytime. Instead of sending these heavier items consider saving shipping costs by making a tax deductible donation to our mother organization, Lakota Friends Circle. Use the PayPal link on the site to make a monthly or one time donation and state how your gift is to be used. Anne Fields the Director of LFC will either place a large order online getting free shipping or send a check to the school for Mr. Erdahl or Paulita to purchase goods locally at Wal-Mart. We’re not discouraging you from sending toiletries on your own but we’re always looking for ways to save our very generous donors money whenever we can and this is a great way to get more purchasing power. Your donations to the SFK fund gave Anne the funds she needed to send an order of granola bars and shampoo to the school, requested by the new principal. Please look at the picture of the Feather room, shelves are fully stocked for today’s returning students, a big thanks to all donors!
This year all toiletries and snacks arriving at the school will be stored in the main storage area where teachers can go to get what they need. The staff at Marty strives to maintain a child’s dignity so those at risk are taken privately from their class and given food and toiletries to take home, have their clothes laundered, given an outfit of clothing from the Feather Store and taken to the dorms for a shower if needed. Students found to have head lice are treated at the school for a two week period. Towels and washcloths are always in short supply so if you find a good sale or are replacing yours they would love to have them. For those of you just joining us you can read more about the Feather Store here and here. Closer to the holidays they have a Christmas Feather Store where students can shop for gifts for their families with feathers they’ve earned. More information about this special store coming in a future blog. Parents also earn feathers when their children do and can use them in the store to purchase clothing, toiletries and other items for their family. Getting parents into the school and involved with their children’s education is something the school has worked very hard on and now many classrooms have great attendance at parent-teacher conferences. Having the Feather store is another way to get parents to visit the school and develop a rapport with staff so they feel comfortable attending school activities. Lanetta S quilted a map of the USA and marked each of the volunteers’ location in the USA, Canada or Ireland on the quilt with a button. And she added a note on the back where the items came from. Maybe this will hang near the Feather room? Thank you Lanetta.
Feather Store Ongoing Needs:
- Shoes/Boots – Athletic type or other sturdy shoes suitable for school, snow or hiking type boots.
- Socks and underwear -new only
- Toiletries – bar soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary napkins, nail clippers, combs and brushes
- Linens – towels and washcloths, pillows, pillowcases, sheets, dish towels and dish cloths
- Clothing – Pants, shirts, dresses, skirts, leggings, tops, hoodies, sweatshirts, jackets, winter coats, pajamas, slippers.
- Toys – board games, dolls, cars, books, football, soccer and basketballs, coloring and activity books. Anything suitable for children k-5 without batteries.
- School and art supplies – Drawing, notebook and construction paper, colored pencils, crayons and markers, pencils, pencil sharpeners, pens, glue and glue sticks, rulers, stencils, etc.
All clothing, shoes, etc. above to fit children grades k-5, keep in mind some of the children in the upper grades may wear adult sizes. Since parents can also shop at the store adult sizes/styles are welcome as well as books and other items geared toward adults. Please read our donation guidelines here. Items on this list are generally needed throughout the school year, keeping in mind the season, however we will be posting lists of items in short supply. Below is a list of current needs, items in bold are a constant need and always in short supply.
- Toiletries – see list above
- Snacks – granola bars, fruit snacks, crackers, and other healthy items.
- Winter Gear – warm hats, mittens, gloves and scarves
- Pajamas – all sizes
- Socks and underwear – new only
- Pillows and pillowcases – pillows should be new or very gently used and freshly laundered.
- Blankets – afghans, quilts, fleece, etc., anything warm.
- Towels and washcloths – new or used in good condition.
- Winter coats – all sizes
Our Teacher/Room Parent program is on again for this school year with a few changes to make things run a little smoother. Gina said students grades, test scores and attendance were up last year and that our program really made a difference. We have either one or two room parents per class and can always use more if you’re interested. If a teacher has a special project that requires more resources, our main group is ready to help out. Most of the group will mainly be sending things to the Feather Store but is on standby for any special requests if needed. Room parents are there to make kids feel special through the school year by recognizing their birthdays with a small gift and card, gifts at Christmas, treats and craft activities for class parties on Halloween, Christmas and other holidays. We all know teachers take from their own pockets to buy things for their class so we want to help lessen that burden.
Check with your teacher to see if they have a treasure box in their room to reward kids that work really hard or show good behavior and manners. Some kids have developmental or behavioral issues due to women using drugs or alcohol during pregnancy and many other reasons. Others may come from dysfunctional or overcrowded homes or live in poverty and must deal with all the issues these problems bring. Teachers like to recognize students birthdays by having a small party with a treat and small gift. Many children’s birthdays go unnoticed at home so this is a chance to make them feel special for the day. Each room parent will receive a picture of their class and teacher, a monthly school newsletter, and have regular communication with the teacher via email or other means so you know how best to help. Please share stories and pictures with your class so students will get to know you and maybe the kids will do likewise.
Sew For Kids is absolutely thrilled to be partnering with Paulita Drapeau as she begins teaching a new sewing class to students, their first project is a traditional ribbon skirt. This project is a dream come true for us as a sewing group and since our beginning we’ve been hoping someone would teach children on the Rez how to sew. Paulita is that special person we’ve been hoping to find and our volunteers have been busy filling her wish list. To learn more about this wonderful project and help with supplies please read this blog. Paulita will begin her sewing classes with 3 or 4 students held in the first hour of the school day. She also plans to get elders and aunties from the community involved in the classes to help the students, something we’re delighted to see. In addition to sewing Paulita is a talented crafter so we’re really excited to follow her project and see student’s finished skirts which we’ll be sharing with all of you.
All donations to the school should be shipped to this address. Since all boxes will now go through the main office make a note on your box if it’s for a certain class/teacher, the feather store or to Paulita for the sewing project. If you wish a response please send a SASE, for a charitable tax deduction fill out this form or design your own with the information and include in your box keeping a copy for yourself in case it gets misplaced. The school will sign and return to you for your records.
Other great ways you can help…..sending Box Tops for Education to the school so they can purchase special things and if you’re an Amazon shopper make sure to use Amazon Smile and enter “Lakota Friends Circle”, they will donate 0.5% of your order to SFK which gives us more funds to use for school needs.
The pictures below are some of the wonderful things that are headed to the school from our talented group. There are many more items sent that we never get photos of but this is a sample of the work of this wonderful group of volunteers.
We’re looking forward to the new school year at Marty Indian School, may it be a fun and successful year for everyone involved. Please join us on Face Book here for friendly conversation, pattern sharing, help with projects and more. As always thanks from Sew For Kids.