A glimpse of issues

Of our 37 new students attending St. Joseph’s Indian School:

* only 2 live with both parents
* 14 didn’t live with either parent
* 15 had problems with school attendance
* 18 were witnesses to domestic violence
* 22 had family difficulty with drugs or alcohol

The SCJs have an 11:30 prayer time, usually for adoration and mid day prayer before lunch. Our houseparents usually have free time during school hours, but I happened to run into Tony on my way to the chapel to set up.

“You do this every day at this time?”

“We sure try to.”

“How cool!”

I appreciated the support and affirmation, but also realized staff shouldn’t be surprised to know that prayer is the foundation of all the other things we do. For all the administrative skills that I’ve needed to learn, St. Joseph’s Indian School is primarily a ministry. If we’re not in touch with the Lord’s will, in vain do we labor. Each day, I lift up the needs of staff, student, donors, tribal communities, nation and world, hoping all of us can walk the path God sets before us.

Though these kids have struggled, they are now happy to be at St. Joseph's Indian School.
Though these kids have struggled, they are now happy to be at St. Joseph's Indian School.

Mary Jane, who oversees Admission, sent us the summary profile of the new students we accepted this year. More students are coming to us from families living off the Indian reservation, in places like Rapid City, South Dakota and Sioux Falls, South Dakota or some of the border communities near Indian reservations. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but give us a glimpse of issues the students might be dealing with.

Of our 37 new students attending St. Joseph’s Indian School:

  • only 2 live with both parents
  • 14 didn’t live with either parent
  • 15 had problems with school attendance
  • 18 were witnesses to domestic violence
  • 22 had family difficulty with drugs or alcohol

Tonight was our girls basketball opener against Lyman County, which is the next school district west of Chamberlain. Lots of familiar faces were in the stands, even on the visiting side, since I used to be pastor in Kennebec and Reliance. I always enjoy those occasions as a chance to visit with folks and catch up. Some staff were in the position of cheering for a niece on one side of the court, and their classroom student on the other. St. Joseph’s won two, and Lyman one, as all of our girls got the chance to run the floor and show what they’ve been practicing so hard for.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

One thought on “A glimpse of issues”

  1. Thank you Fr. Steve for giving us a glimpse into the lives of the new students. We all need to be very aware of these facts. May God Bless ALL at St. Joe’s and may God continue to Bless the work that is being done there.

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