Updates for Martin Programs

It won’t be long until the school year comes to an end and kids begin their much anticipated summer vacation.  Some kids will be attending summer school, others will be going to camps paid for by non-profits that work on the Rez, and still others will be going to the youth center if they have transportation.  An advantage of attending some of these activities is the meals kids will receive which helps parents already struggling to feed their families.  Kimmie Clausen, Director of the CDC, women’s shelter, and youth center says she is now applying for the hot lunch program because of the generosity of SFK and the Ravelry group that donated funds to purchase a new cook stove for the center.  We began a monthly donation program in January and plan to allot some of the money collected to help purchase milk, eggs and other perishables for the youth center to help with their feeding program.  If you would like to join us by giving either a monthly or one time donation you can do so here.  Kimmie shops once a month at the food bank for both the shelter and the youth center but if attendance is high sometimes that food doesn’t last the entire month and the staff has been chipping in to help out although their salary is only $10 per hour.

Kimmie has hired a male director for the youth center and is still looking for a female director.  The new hire allows extended hours at the center 4-10 p.m. weekdays and 1-10 p.m. on weekends with longer hours expected after school’s out.  Hours had been cut over the past few months due to staff shortages but now kids are coming to the center in droves with the new hours.  They love to see kids using the center as they can provide a structured environment and supervised activities which helps keep kids busy and less likely to get in trouble.  Kids won’t just be surfing the internet or watching TV,  the South Dakota State University Extension program (Land Grant University) in Brookings.  is coming to help them set up raised garden beds and teach them how to maintain them.  Produce from these gardens will help feed the kids at the center as well as the shelter.  Many of the kids don’t especially like veggies as they haven’t had a lot of exposure to them at home so changing their eating habits is one of the goals of this project.  When we first started helping in Wanblee kids wouldn’t eat veggies either, but when they started serving fruit and veggie cups at all the parties there was quick acceptance and now fresh fruit is given in their goody bags at Christmas.  We anticipate the same acceptance with the Martin youth  and kids are more likely to try new foods if they grow or cook it themselves.  They’re planning to hold cooking classes very soon so aprons will be needed.  (hint)

The SDSU Extension program will also focus on teaching kids about how to keep their bodies healthy through proper eating and exercise and have already provided free passes to the local pool.  Swim suits are needed in sizes 0-12 for the shelter and up to age 18 for the youth center.  A special thanks to Angie B. and Sue S. for being the first generous members to send swim suits.   Some kids  are also getting exercise through tribal dancing which helps keep them in shape and gets them ready to perform at the Pow Wow’s held across the Rez in summer.  Kimmie has purchased a water cooler so kids can drink water instead of juice which isn’t good for any of us but especially a poor choice for those who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes.  The kids would love to go fishing and need rods and other gear so if you have any extra to donate they would be thrilled!

SFK member and librarian, Laurie A, is visiting Martin in a few weeks  to set up a corner library at the shelter.  In addition to books the library will have games and other activities so they could use donations of craft supplies, crayons, coloring books, puzzles, etc.  Carol B. will be purchasing bookcases for the new library.

Another SFK member, Janet S, is heading to the Rez in August to volunteer with Re-member to help repair homes.  She’ll be stopping by Martin on her way and deliver sewing machines and other donations to Kimmie for the youth center.  Kimmie said the girls have nearly finished sewing their dresses for the “coming of age” ceremony Isnati Awicalowanpi.  We’re thinking about sending sewing projects for the kids in kit form so they have everything they need to complete the project.

Kimmie is still working on acquiring some of the funds that had been allotted for a new shelter in Kyle (now postponed) to use for finishing the upstairs rooms, make repairs to the shelter, fence the property, and install a playground for the kids.  She’s currently behind schedule in receiving grant money from the justice department and is nearly $60,000 in debt, not good when you’re trying to operate a shelter and pay salaries but she’s hoping to receive a payment soon.  Kimmie is interested in working with the new emergency foster care center in Oglala that opened in February.  Barbara Dull Knife has donated 5 acres for a new facility to be built when funding becomes available.  She’s  also been working with Child Protective services, (LOWO) Public Health, medical personnel, and the tribe to set up a response team for people in crisis.

The shelter staff really isn’t equipped to deal with some of the tougher cases they get such as women addicted to meth or those severely abused.  They do the best they can but clients would be much served if they could go to appropriate facilities.  She is sending her staff for training in dealing with people addicted to meth as a few clients have come in under the influence and need to be isolated while they come off the drug.  If women are sent for treatment at another facility they need a safe place for their children to stay and if relatives can’t care for them the new foster care center in Oglala may be able to help.  The shelter readily accepts woman with their children but they don’t have the staff to care for children alone, child care is the mother’s responsibility at the shelter.  There are a few communities trying to set up safe houses for kids in danger and although the tribe may donate the house, they still need funds for operating expenses which is usually a huge stumbling block for any new facility on the Rez.

Kimmie is also director for the Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Martin which has received rural grants to repair the homes of 7 elders.  We really wonder when or if Kimmie sleeps as she’s the grant writer for all these projects.

Kimmie, along with other community groups, will be hosting a  human trafficking workshop, a community walk to commemorate missing women, assumed murdered, and holding a community event on domestic abuse.  There were 1500 cases of child abuse, neglect and domestic abuse in 2016, mostly the result of drug and alcohol abuse and living in crippling poverty.  The recent shut down of 4 liquor stores over the border in Whiteclay, Nebraska is hopefully a step in the right direction although there is a lot of work to be done getting people into treatment programs and providing education and job opportunities for residents.

Bright Start  has a new nurse so Kimmie will be going to Rapid City to meet with her and discuss the community’s needs regarding the program.  In exchange for Bright Start nurses providing educational programs to the Martin community about SIDS, parenting, vaccines, child care and development, etc. Kimmie gives them baby bags to give out while making their monthly home visits to new mothers.  These bags are made possible by donations that come, almost exclusively, from SFK and the Ravelry group “For the Children of Pine Ridge Reservation”.

In other baby related news, SFK has been looking at the Baby Box program, first made popular in Finland and now spreading across the US, as a way to provide a safe sleeping alternative for babies and hopefully lower the rate of SIDS on the Rez.  The boxes come with a mattress and other items at no cost to the mother if she participates in an educational program.  Kimmie was provided with the information  and will be discussing it when she meets with the Bright Start nurse.  A special thanks to SFK member Diane G. for sewing several layettes for new babies.

We’ve been busy working on our summer clothing project and Kimmie reports receiving many requests from girls that received a dress from our group last year if they could please have another.  She said the girls were seen around town wearing them all summer long.  If you like to sew please join our members in making dresses for these lovely girls.   Many of the kids in the 5-12 age group coming to the shelter arrive dirty and are always wearing the same clothes so Kimmie has been giving them a bag with clothing and toiletries, most of the older kids have learned grooming skills and are usually clean and presentable.  Your donations don’t remain very long at the shelter because the needs of the community are so high.  They will soon be doing an inventory with help from community women on the TANF program and Kimmie plans to give them a bag of clothing and other items for their families.  She has an extra washing machine to put in the youth center but it will need to be monitored to make sure it’s only used by those that need it most.  Please send pictures of your donations and we’ll share them with everyone at the end of the month.  All donations for the Martin area should be sent here, scroll down to the Sacred Shawl address.

Thank you, as always, from Sew For Kids.  Please remember, each small donation, each act of kindness makes a big difference to someone in need.

We’re posting a map (click to enlarge) of Pine Ridge so you can see locations of the areas we’re helping, look for Wanblee and Martin.  The Bright Start program covers the entire Rez.  Map can be found here.



Good News For Some Rez Dogs

I  recently received  an email from one of our members who had called Jerome High Horse in Wanblee, about buying him parts for the saws that he uses to cut wood for families. On the call he mentioned that he needed some dog food and “Could anyone help?”

While dogs are not part of our Sew For Kids projects, many on our sites are animal lovers. Dog food was needed, after Jerome’s daughter  went to the dump to drop off some items and found 4 young, helpless and crying pups. Why they were there I am not sure,  maybe someone needed to dispose of them for lack of resources or maybe their mom left them there while out looking for food.

His daughter brought them home and asked her dad if he could feed them and care for them until they could find them a good home or find an organization that would find them a good home. Jerome only knew of an organization that came thru in the spring. He built a little enclosure to keep them in and bought some food as they were hungry. When I later called him, he said they were very young and needed some milk as well.

When I heard about the need, not yet having talked to Jerome, I contacted the organization  Lightshine Canine based out of Colorado and working alongside people on Pine Ridge Reservation, and other Reservations in SD, rescuing dogs in need. There are many stray dogs on the Rez, that need homes and many have been killed in the past by tribal round ups. People on the Rez asked the tribe to stop this inhumane practice. Last year this organization alone picked up 2800 stray or needy dogs.

In the past , I had a chance to talk with KC Willis, the Director of the organization,  and knew about their good work so thru messaging, asked her if she could help with this situation. Feeding 4 extra dogs was not something Jerome could afford to do long term.  She responded immediately to my message and promised to call Jerome. Within a matter of an hour, the Rez contact person picked up the dogs so they could be seen by a vet, vaccinated, later spayed and then given to organizations that would find them a loving home. The person who arrived to pick up the dogs, turned out to be a person whom Jerome High Horse had worked with in one of his old jobs. KC gave Jerome a phone number so that he could contact the organization if someone brought them a dog in need of help in the future. Jerome has kept many dogs in the past but is so glad now to have an organization that can help him if this occurs again. There are so many people needs to address, and that is his first priority.

Please check out this organization and see what they do. Consider making a donation to help them with their work.  I did. It costs money to feed and transport the animals as well as to pay their vet bills. Having visited the Rez, and having seen the animals, I know that this is a good cause  It is heartbreaking to see sickly animals, struggling  to survive in such adverse conditions.

Thank you KC and the workers of Light Shine Canine for helping the dogs. Your organization has made a difference to their lives and provided them a better future.

What’s New in Wanblee?

Last minute preparations are in process for the upcoming Easter party in Wanblee this Saturday.  Local volunteers and people from several other groups have been busy working together to make sure children and their families have a wonderful day.  Sew For Kids and Ravelry members have sewn lots of colorful pillowcases to go with the 100 plus new pillows that were sent for prizes.  Kids absolutely love pillows and they’re one of the most requested items from our donation areas.  Many others sent stuffed animals with the winning prize of that effort going to Ruth G. who shipped a 25 pound box!  Other prize donations from the Yahoo group Pine Ridge Elders and many others included several kinds of balls for sports, candy and cash to purchase food.  They’re hoping to hold the party inside the new partially completed community center with the egg hunt being held outside if the weather cooperates.  They will be serving hot dogs with all the fixings, chips, fruit/veggie cups and water to drink, any leftovers will be sent home with families in need.  A very special thanks to everyone that helped make this party a reality for the children and their families!   Here are last year’s photos.

The Wanblee voters have elected Jerome High Horse as their new Community Chairman.  They couldn’t have made a better choice, Jerome and his wife Theresa have both dedicated themselves to improving the lives of the residents in Wanblee and the outlying areas since returning to the reservation several years ago.  We wish him great success and offer our support in all his endeavors.

Jerome says inside work on the community center is moving along, although slower than he’d like due to inclement weather and waiting for water and sewer connections.  They do have electricity in the building which means they can now use the new refrigerator and freezers they recently purchased.  They’re expecting volunteers from a few different groups to come and help complete the interior of the building and are hoping to be finished by late spring or early summer.  Youthworks will once again return for service projects this summer and Jerome is planning to house them in the new building which will be much better accommodations than on the floor at Crazy Horse school where they usually stay.  Bob and Mary Epps, co-founders of Families Working Together , good friends of Jerome and Theresa and financers of the community building exterior, are moving from their home in Wisconsin to Wanblee and will have a temporary apartment at the end of the new building until a permanent home can be built.  Bob and Mary met Jerome and Theresa while working at Re-member and have since worked on many construction projects together so they make a good team.  Mary is a nurse and plans to do some educational classes at the center.

Recently a gentleman from Colorado brought a truckload of salvaged food for the community and is delivering another load this weekend. People were so happy to receive the food and the need was so great   that it was all given out within a few days of arrival.  Jerome and Theresa are hoping to set up a food pantry in the new building so they can help combat the hunger problem in the community.  They will be making a trip to Manderson next week to pick up food boxes from Running Strong and Lakota Friends Circle (our mother organization)will provide funds for gas so two cars can be used to pick up food and make deliveries to families without transportation.

Theresa knows our main focus is children but asked if we could please get the word out about the needs of their local elderly meal center.  They have 82 elders in the communities in and around Wanblee who are entitled to a free lunch.  Jerome and Theresa do get monthly food boxes for them from the food bank, but the elders need to get a good meal at the center on weekdays as most experience food shortages at home.  Elders in many households are taking care of their grandchildren and this lunch may be their only meal of the day as they tend to save what food they have for the children.  Many have no income to speak of and live on commodities which don’t last through the month but they are grateful to receive anything.  Food for the lunch is provided by the tribe but frankly, it isn’t very good, it could   be supplemented with food from the pantry once established in the new center.  Jerome can purchase food from the food bank in Rapid City for 18 cents a pound so is a good way to stock the shelves for any food needs that come in.  Once the community center is operational they plan to serve a daily evening meal for kids or anyone that’s hungry.  We’re crossing our fingers that the new administration will continue school and elder feeding programs but honestly, we’re worried about the future of food for our kids and elders in need.

The elder center currently has 2 tables and 6 chairs for seating but they would like to acquire more and make the space more inviting for elders wanting to visit over lunch.  Keeping elders engaged in social activities is good for their mental and physical health and a good way to check on them to make sure there are no serious problems.

Elder Center Needs 

  • Plastic cutlery and storage containers for food deliveries
  • Condiments, S&P, yeast, baking powder, sugar, sugar substitute.
  • Coffee and tea.
  • Garbage bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, food storage bags.
  • Cleaning supplies and dish soap.
  • Kitchen pots and pans and cooking utensils.
  • Cloth or paper napkins, cups and plates, eating utensils.
  • Kitchen towels, aprons, dish cloths and scrubbers.

The center has a few pots and pans but they’ve worn out over the years and need replacing.  For these or any of the other heavier items you can make a cash donation to Lakota Friends Circle and they can make one large purchase and receive free shipping.  All donations are tax deductible and you will receive a receipt from LFC.  Please send your donated goods to this address.

We would like to send out “Get Well Soon” wishes to Jerome High Horse who recently had shoulder surgery.  His doctors have told him to take it easy for a while but we suspect he won’t as there is so much work that needs to be done.  Hopefully he won’t pick up a hammer or saw right away and instead settle for directing his volunteers until he’s well.

Thanks as always from Sew For Kids!



Sacred Shawl and Youth Center Updates – Martin SD

The shelter has received funds from one of the many grants Kimmie Clausen, the Director,  has applied for and she hired additional staff bringing the total number of employees up to 7 which means shorter hours and less work for everyone.  They’ve been busy at the shelter (unfortunately) but are pleased they can provide a safe haven for women in crises, the Martin community is busy putting together a team of responders- nurses, MD’S, mental health professionals, and social workers to help people in need.  They recently set up a sweat lodge, or Inipi in Lakota, which means “to live again”, at the shelter and will be held every Thursday night for women who are current or past residents of the shelter.  This ceremony purifies and heals the body, helps the participant gain strength and power, and is a spiritual rebirth.  Kimmie would like to start a women’s support group for past clients of the shelter so they can develop a network of women that help each other with their day to day struggles.  They’ve also been doing a weekly program on KILI radio speaking about various topics that are relevant to the community.

Kimmie was disappointed that she ran out of money before work could be completed on the two rooms above the garage, she really needs the space but will now have to apply for more grants before work can resume.  She also needs to update some furnishings and flooring in the shelter as after a year of serving clients things are starting to show quite a bit of wear and tear.   The carpeting needs to be replaced with tile which would be easier to maintain, two windows are beyond repair and will need replacing, new mattresses are needed in some of the rooms despite being covered and some of the furniture is looking pretty worn.  Outdoors they need more gravel on the road leading to the shelter as it gets very muddy when it rains and they need to fence the property to help protect and contain the children.  Parents do accompany their children outside but there’s always a risk they can be grabbed by a non-custodial parent or relative.

The shelter recently learned the Four Directions clinic in Kyle, (they perform screening after a rape) has had funds amounting to $875,000 for the last 4 years that was intended to be used for a domestic abuse shelter.  Kimmie spoke to the clinic and the tribe about allowing her to use some of the money to operate the current shelter since the fund isn’t large enough to build and operate a new one.  She has asked tribal officials for their help and any amount they received could help with maintenance and upgrades they currently can’t afford.  There is funding to operate the shelter for two more years, (only bare bones necessities), that is assuming the new federal administration doesn’t cut funding as has been rumored.

Kimmie is very appreciative of everything coming in, sometimes daily, and wants to thank all of you for your continuing generosity and support.  She said bags are needed (pillowcase size) for the Four Directions Clinic  that are filled with women’s items and given to those that surrender their clothing for a rape investigation.  Also needed are diaper bags for Bright Start , emergency bags for women coming at the end of the month for formula and diapers, and bags to hold clients belongings when leaving the shelter.   We will have a Bag Project coming up in May/June to fill some of these needs, more information coming in the May blog.

The My Space Youth center hasn’t been open as much as Kimmie would have liked this winter because of staffing issues.  She prefers to have the kids at the center as some get into trouble when home alone, she has come in personally on many of the snow days for just this reason.  Thankfully she just received a $25,000 grant for two JR/SR college students (male and female) to be there when the center is open.  Kimmie wanted the staff to be old enough to be responsible but young enough to relate to the kids.  They will be doing crafts, playing games, helping with reading and homework, making snacks and supervising the computer.  The SD extension office is going to work with the center to build raised garden beds this summer and the kids are hoping to visit some of the sacred Lakota sites such as Bear Butte, Wind Cave and the Black Hills.

Youth in the community, ages 10-16, have been meeting with elders and other adults on weekends for the past few months to learn about caring and respecting their bodies physically, emotionally and spiritually.  They are learning to refrain from drug and alcohol use, about reproduction and forming healthy relationships.  Elders have been teaching the youth about Lakota culture and how some of the old ways still fit into today’s society.

Girls learned how to make beef jerky, gather turnips, sweet grass and sage.  They are making their own moccasins and beaded medicine bags which they’ll wear hidden in their bras.  Girls who’ve had their first menstrual cycle are making a ceremonial dress from gingham for Isnati Awicalowanpi   or their coming of age ceremony.  They will go into isolation for 4 days where women (mothers and female elders) will wait on them, feed them, teach them Lakota culture and give them their spiritual name.  Their name is given to them by an elder who has worked with them over the past 4 months.

Boys also learn Lakota culture from male elders, learn traditional crafts and make a Vision Quest  after which they will be given their spiritual name.  Both boys and girls will also participate in the sweat lodge or Inipi ceremony.

These spiritual coming of age ceremonies are an important part of traditional Lakota Culture and can be a life changing experience for any youth but especially for those at risk.  These ceremonies were made possible by a grant Kimmie received which covered all costs including something for the elders.

SFK members are busy working on kid’s summer clothing for the shelter, youth center, Wanblee and the Marty School students.   Please continue working on your clothing projects through April.  You can view the spreadsheet here to see our progress and what is still needed.

We can’t thank you enough for sharing your time, talents and treasures with the children of Pine Ridge and Marty Indian School.  We are so grateful to each and every one of you!

March/April Summer Clothing Project


Spring is just around the corner and kids will soon be out shooting baskets and hitting the playground. They’re probably getting pretty restless by now as many have been shut in all winter because they lack proper clothing to brave the elements.  Kids are starting to look forward to the end of the school year and the beginning of their summer vacation.  So to help them start their vacation off on the right foot, our project for the next two months will be sewing or buying summer clothing.  Any clothing left from last year is either worn out or has been outgrown and passed down to younger siblings.  If this project doesn’t appeal to you, please choose another from our list of projects here.  Some of our members work ahead on Christmas gifts and quilts or other projects that are time consuming.  You can always send basics such as socks, underwear, shoes, diapers, toiletries, etc., these needs are ongoing.

Children’s Summer Clothing – Kids 3T to 16/18 and Babies 0 to 24 months

  • Shorts, capris, lightweight pants, leggings.
  • Shirts, t shirts, tank tops
  • Dresses and skirts
  • Bathing suits, both genders.  Wanblee has a pool kids can use at the school.  
  • Sun hats, baseball caps
  • Shoes – sandals, flip-flops, canvas or other summer shoes.  New or gently used.
  • Sunscreen



Women’s Shelter Needs – Sizes S to XXL or 5/6 to 18/20 up

  • Shorts, capris, pants/jeans
  • Shirts, t shirts
  • Shoes including sandals and flip-flops, all sizes up to 11
  • Underwear sizes 6 to 9 mostly needed, larger ones ok too, new only.
  • Bras – sports type M/XL and regular bras, most requested size 36C as can use  for 36 and 38 size woman if need be.  Gently used are welcomed and women love those with a little lace.


Some of our members are wonderful seamstresses and love sewing skirts and dresses for the girls.  They have been very well received in the past especially by pre-teens. Kimmie, shelter director, loves to see the girls in their dresses around town and will even wash and iron them when needed so they look nice. Theresa High Horse says she sees the girls wearing their dresses at Pow Wow’s during the summer.  Mothers are always commenting how beautiful and professional looking the dresses are and wishing they could sew that well.

Girls love to dress up for special occasions like church, parties, Sun Dance’s, Pow Wow’s and just because dresses make them feel pretty.  All kids love shorts to play in and they help keep them cool in the hot, dry summers on the Rez.  Summer pajamas can be made or purchased but most of the kids sleep in their underwear or street clothes.  If you have any to send please ship to the shelter in Martin.

Garage sales will soon be starting and they’re a wonderful place to “shop”.  Don’t be shy about sharing with others the work you’re doing with SFK, we’ve had many of our members getting a better deal and/or offers of free items at the end of the sale, some of our members have even gotten donations from big box stores.  Please share pictures of your projects with us, we just love to ooh and aah!  We learn so much from each other’s projects and sometimes they’re just the inspiration we need to get our machines going.

Summer clothing for kids is needed at all of our assistance areas – the shelter and youth center in Martin, Marty Indian School, and the community of Wanblee, shipping addresses are here.  Please remember underwear must be new but other items can be gently used as long as they meet our guidelines.  Please let us know the quantity and sizes you’re sending so we can cover as many different ages as possible.

As always Thanks from Sew For Kids.








Kids’ Dreams For Their Communities

Each year our parent organization, Lakota Friends Circle, holds an essay contest for the students in the 5th grade class at Wolf Creek School in Pine Ridge.  This project helps kids improve their writing skills and gives them the opportunity to share their feelings, dreams and concerns about their lives and the community they live in.  We’re posting the essays as written without student’s names, grab a tissue before you begin.  Look beyond the grammar and misspellings as you’re reading and you’ll get a glimpse into the reality of a child’s life on the Rez.  These students are behind in reading and writing skills and teachers are trying their best to improve them, but a recent decision to remove all the books from the library and replace them with an IPad that must be used at school puts them further behind, in our opinion.  There are limited hours during the school day to practice reading and writing skills and without books to take home, students just aren’t improving like they should.


“What I Can Do For My Community” 

1st place

I want my community to let kids play outside without being told to go inside because there are people that will hurt them.  I also want my community to have less trash on the ground because the ground gets dirty and you can’t play there.  I wish my community had less deaths because when you lose someone you feel very sad.  In my community we need to not have drugs because they are bad for you.

2nd place

I want drugs to stop.  I want people to not drive drunk.  I want clean playgrounds.  I want a big pool in the community for kids to swim in.  I want good people in the world.  I want people to not fighting.  I want Horses and cars to ride in and out.  I wand jobs for people.  I want a playgrounds for babies and kids to play in.

3rd Place

For my Community I want to put an Basketball court, park, and I want to clean up our field behind our houses.  Then I want to put in a pool, Stores, and hotels.  We could have better houses the Maintenance Can fix our houses better in the winter they can fix our heaters because maybe some people don’t have good heaters and a good AC for the people that don’t have good AC’s and Heaters.  If I were president I would give money to people that are having a bad time if they hardly got good stuff and I would help them out And I would buy them new clothes, give them a better house.  But some people probably don’t have good stuff and they probably don’t have family to celebrate like holiday’s that is why you gotta be thankful for your family, food, clothes, a good house I’m very thankful for all the stuff I got and have a very good family and just a good family. and I want no more crime and no more drugs.

1st Runner up

I can do for my community when kids are bored they want things to do I want a clean park and a clean community and a no drug zone and more stores more things to do when you are bored and no trash on the sidewalk or on the street no drugs in the community and more school that teach about our way of life like wolf creek more schools like wolf creek more sports to play out side of school because kids like to do sports out of school and a gym where you can plat basketball for free and work out for free a track to run on those are the things I

2nd Runner up

I want a new park with no trash.  I want to help stop suicide.  I want drugs to be out of my town.  I want nice new clothes for everyone.  I want blankets and pillows for everyone too.  I want all the kids to have backpacks and school supplies.  I just want everyone to be happy in my town.  I don’t want no sad faces.  I also want everyone to have a nice home.

3rd Runner up

For my community I want the park to be more clean more school high school and buildings.  We are Lakota we need to teach our children learn Lakota stop drugs, stop suicide, no more kids running around pine ridge.  We need are store prices to go down we need more food for my community.  We need to take care of our children.  Feed the homeless give them warm and good houses.

4th Runner up

I want a safer place at east ridge because Everything goes on.  Like house’s explode and dogs people getting hit by cars and everything so yeah safer place we need to survive if we want to live and stop alcohol because it’s not fhun it’s scary because like what if one of them just runs you over am I right and stop drug because it’s horrible and a bunch of people to it so STOP ALL DRUG!!!  And make the world a better place and please dot do nothing wrong and make east ridge something better and be saft!!!

Thank you.

5th Runner up

I want for my community is I want for kids is a swimming pool and when kids get bored I want a park a big park for all kids and for grownup and good schools for adults and kids.  And no drugs and no fights and people be treated the way they want to be treated also no things that are bad for us.  And cats to be taken care of and dogs to be taken care of too.  And all animals to be taken to an animal shelter. and all schools and homes works to be a bully free zone.
Contest Entrants Essays

  • Want I want for are community I want no more crimes no more shooting I want people to clean up the parks I want no more people doing drugs we can clean up the schools.  I want people to stop stealing we can do great things for are community if we all work together.


  •  (1)  I want to change people drinking and driving one time when i was walking to my friends house then this car came then this guy said get off the road you idoits then he drove off.

          (2) And i want to stop bulling bulling just make people do the   same thing over and over and over again that’s why it needs to stop.

          (3) and i want to stop clowns from breking into peoples homes stealing.

         (4) and i want to stop people from doing drugs that stuff is going to kill you.


  • What I will do for my community.  I’d liked to see less trash around my community and want to see more job openings.  I want to see less trash around my community because I would like play outside and not have trash laying around. I want to see more job openings because there is not a lot of jobs in my community for people who try to make money. 


  • I would like to see more jobs so people will support themselves .I would like to have a clean and safe community. We could play at the park skate and ride our bikes . I don’t like people to drugs. They do bad things when there on drugs . I will protect my community to keep it liveable.


  • What do you want to do for your Community?  I want to a park when I’m bored.  I want a basketball Court when my brothers come over & my sisters.  I want a skate board ally for when my friends come over.  I want a water park because so when it’s a hot hot day like in the summer.  I want a art place so like all the kids that like to draw, color and art things.  I want the community to always stay clean.


  • I what the town clean. I what people stop doing drugs it bad for you. I what better roads. I what dogs change up. I what people be nice to others. I what more stores. I what the world to be nice to others that how god made us to be nice to others. I what more house for others.



  • I want the drugs to stop and the bad stuff and I want to have a nice park and I want the fighting to stop and I want my community to be clean and a nice community I want the bad people to stop being bad and doing drugs I want that to stop it’s bad and it can kill people and I want my community to be a nice place and a good place to live and I want to have clean parks. I want it to be a good place to live.



  • What do you want to do for your community? I want a park when I’m bored.  I want a basketball court when my friends come over. I want a trampoline to jump on. I want a gymnastics gymnasium when I want to do gymnastics. I want my own store to run. I want a horse to ride on. I want drugs to STOP. I want suicide to STOP



  • For my community I want I clean and make life’s better by making people stop doing drugs and alcohol so they can have better life’s with them and their family and plant new tree’s and make the environment better and stop people from littering every were becouse that hurt’s the environment and make my community better and stop people from killing them self and help them and help family’s.



  • What I can do for my community. I want to make drugs stop and I want family’s to be safe. I want elderly’s safe and I want people to be safe for are community and I want people to not drive drunk and I want the gasstashon to be free would if someone has a appointment and they a sick so that is why I want stuff to be ok.



  • What I will do for my Community is pick up trash and make a park and make a good Community for people and for kids and make drugs stop and make more jods for people.


These essays are from a particular group of students from one school on the Rez, but if you were to ask the same question in other parts of Pine Ridge, or other reservations for that matter, those kids would probably have similar feelings and dreams for their communities.  Sew For Kids likes to support youth programs and schools by helping with clothing, school supplies and other things kids need.  Help us help them by donating material goods to any of  our programs  at the addresses listed here , or give a monetary donation to Lakota Friends Circle.  With many of us coming together we can make a difference.

As always thanks from Sew For Kids.




Happy News For Wanblee

The following excerpt is taken from our November 2016 blog:

“Jerome recently traveled to Rapid City where he was a guest speaker at a conference meeting of the group Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA) who each year chooses a charity to support.  This year’s recipient was none other than Sew For Kids!  After speaking Jerome was presented with a check for $650, school supplies and some clothing which included new winter coats. We’re so honored to have been chosen and will use the gift to help the children of Pine Ridge. Lakota Friends Circle, our umbrella organization, will be handling the funds and since hunger is such a huge issue we’ve decided to purchase a freezer for the new community building.   Having a freezer allows the center to become a local food bank and receive food deliveries directly from the Rapid City food bank.  Instead of handing out all the food as soon as it arrives, as they currently do, the freezer allows them the luxury of keeping perishable food until it’s really needed.  Currently the High Horses drive to Rapid City for pick up, make the trip back to Wanblee (200+ miles round trip), sort, box and deliver the food to recipients, all in the same day!  We still need to find funds to purchase a refrigerator but that is a project for another day. Again a BIG THANKS to RMASFAA for their generous donation!”

Now for an exciting update to this post.  Jerome and Theresa have been checking used appliance stores looking for a freezer to purchase with the funds we received from this generous organization.  Well not only did they find a freezer, but once the store owner found out they were going to use it in a community center and they also needed a refrigerator, he made them an unbelievable deal on the appliances pictured below.  They now have an upright freezer, chest freezer and refrigerator purchased for $685 which is only $35 more than the initial award of $650!


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These appliances are already being used, Jerome recently made the 200 mile round trip to Running Strong in Manderson to pick up food boxes and was able to store them in the freezer/fridge for families who either couldn’t pick their food up the same day or for those  needing home delivery.  The new freezers and refrigerator will now give volunteers two days to deliver the 85 elder food boxes that come down from the food bank in Rapid City instead of rushing around to finish the same day.  When shopping for community parties Jerome and Theresa can head to Sam’s in Rapid City earlier in the week instead of the day before the party as they now have a place to store the food until needed.

So thank you again Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA) for the wonderful donation that will help this community feed their people.  With the new food storage capabilities, they can now save back some of the food received from the food bank that isn’t immediately needed to give out when those desperate calls come in from people looking for food to feed their children.  Most people on the Rez are always a little hungry and with the possibility of the new administration making cuts to the food stamp and school feeding programs, two programs they depend on to prevent malnutrition, they’re bound to be receiving a lot more calls for food.

The Wanblee community and Sew For Kids are both so grateful for your kindness!