Building Better Communities

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Welcome to Pine Ridge sign

Building Better Communities

As the Grants Program Officer I don’t always get to witness firsthand the work of nonprofit organizations. I learn a lot about who they are and their work by reading grant applications, support letters, looking at their websites, visiting over the phone or by email. So when I get the opportunity to conduct a site visit, I get very excited!  Earlier this week, I had one of those opportunities to spend two full days visiting individuals from nonprofit organizations on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Reservations. I was updated on the amazing work they are doing in their communities and learned more about what it is they do on a daily basis to make a difference in the world in which they live. The work these nonprofits are doing is critical to the people that are receiving their services.

I wish to thank all of the individuals I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with. You are all creating a better life for those you touch.

  • The Lakota Immersion Childcare Program http://thundervalley.org/program-guide/lakota-immersion  in Oglala is a Lakota speaking daycare. The children are learning Lakota as soon as they are able to talk. Recently they have launched a language immersion classroom at Red Cloud Indian School.
  • The Oglala Lakota Children’s Justice Center http://ol-casa-org.doodlekit.com/home staff in Pine Ridge is committed to advocating for the best interests of Lakota children. They focus on their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. 
  • Generations Indigenous Ways http://www.giways.org/  is dedicated to empowering American Indian youth with STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education. This curriculum is being taught at the Pine Ridge Girls School, the first of its kind for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This academically rigorous program is grounded in Lakota culture, language and values.
  • Lakota Funds http://lakotafunds.org/ located in Kyle promotes economic sustainability on the Pine Ridge Reservation and geographic service area, through business loans, technical assistance, and wealth building education for families and businesses.
  • The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) http://nativecairns.org/CAIRNS/CAIRNS.html in Martin has a research and education center that is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them by developing quality educational resources and innovative projects. Their work will be on display at the Journey Museum in Rapid City, March – June 2017.
  • The Rosebud Boys & Girls Club http://www.rosebudbgc.org/  in Mission empower youth to live out their dreams and reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. Many updates to the club have enhanced their programs.
  • The White Buffalo Calf Woman Society http://www.wbcws.org in Mission strives to follow the teaching of the White Buffalo Calf Woman.  They are committed to providing shelter and advocacy for individuals victimized by violence.

Ginger Niemann, SDCF Program Officer