I heard tell of a Lakota tribal official visiting the Apache Tribe in Arizona. They teased him “in the mountains we’re much closer to the Great Spirit.”
He replied, “Yes, I understand, but on the vast South Dakota prairie we can see God coming for three days, and have time to get ready!”
While other folks are taking down their Christmas decorations, we’re still getting ready to celebrate when all our students return. Last weekend two school groups, one from Barrington, Illinois and one from Watertown, South Dakota brought out some wonderful clothes and toys they’ve been collecting. As the houseparents return, we’ll check sizes and wish lists to find good matches for our students’ needs.
While many of our child services staff have had vacation time, staff in the development office have been faithfully answering mail and phone requests. The facilities crew has used this quieter time for projects like touch-up paint jobs and preventative spraying for bed bugs, which are jobs best done when the homes are empty.
They’ve been moving full speed ahead on several projects. The Summerlee Home renovation is almost complete, and those fourth and fifth grade girls should be moving back in a couple of weeks. The William Home will take a few more months, but the dry wall is up and the crew is working on the behind the scenes (and walls) items like electrical outlets and ventilation.
Fewer students means fewer vehicle trips over break. The school bus was in the garage getting a check up to make sure it’s fit for ball games and school trips once the semester gets going next week.
We have had a half dozen high school students on campus this past week taking part in basketball practices. Today, the rest of the crew of 42 filtered in. Cars pulled up to one of our five high school homes and kids carried suitcases or slung plastic bags full of clothes over their shoulder and started getting ready for second semester.
I spent a little time at each of the homes, welcoming students back. I always hope for happy news. Many of the students had good memories of their time with family, but a few had family struggles and drama over the break. Our houseparents and counselors will help them talk it out and process the disappointments and hurts, and hopefully get them off to a good start here.