My name is Frank and I am the Residential Coordinator for the sixth, seventh and eighth grade community, which means I supervise the houseparents who work in those homes. I have worked with the Native American students here at St Joseph’s for the last four years.
It is summer and, in between new carpet and paint in the school and the rest of construction going on around campus, my coworkers and I made good progress getting prepared for the next school year, which is fast approaching! The other coordinators and I have worked this summer updating the rules, mapping out enrichment lessons for the year and doing some general long-term planning for the residential department here at St. Joseph’s.
Today, I have been working on a slide show for the All Staff Meeting in August, which shows all we have done in the last year. “All Staff” refers to the date all the staff come back from summer and get ready for the school year with meetings and prep time in the homes or classrooms. As I browse our photos, I am amazed by how much we accomplished in the last year. From powwow to graduation, there is much that fills the year!
Summer isn’t dull by any means, but is not as fast paced as the regular school year. This summer I have been supervising the summer home for the last three weeks. Boy have they been busy!
The home has been fishing in the river, taking hikes, bike riding and going to school half days. They have also taken a few trips around the state to see the sites of South Dakota. One of the bigger trips has been to the Black Hills. Houseparents took students all over the Hills! They were able to visit Custer State Park and go swimming at Evan’s Plunge in Hot Springs, South Dakota. Over the 4th of July, students spent the day along the Missouri river fishing, cooking out and enjoying the water.
The students’ smiles are big and broad when we talk about the trips and other things they have done over the summer. Those smiles make planning a trip worth it for the houseparents. It can be a challenge to travel with so many kids, and expenses are always a concern.
But, the most important outcome for the students after these trips is they learn about the world around them by experiencing it firsthand. Trips away from St. Joseph’s campus also give them a chance to practice their social skills. This is the best learning opportunity we can provide to them, and we’re so grateful to be able to do it.
The summer home closes this week, and students will return to their families for the remainder of the summer. School starts again on August 13!
I am often asked why I work at St. Joseph’s. The easy answer is that I believe in the mission of the school. The long answer is I am from the Indian reservation and I have seen firsthand how tough life can be for the youth and families there.
St. Joseph’s provides hope to the families that their children will have a better outcome in adulthood than they did. Helping families work toward achieving this is an honor; I am privileged to have the opportunity to help in some small way. I am always thankful to our tiyospaye – extended family – who supports our mission in so many ways and want to take this opportunity to say thanks. Without your support we couldn’t affect change in the ways we do for the students and their families!
Thanks for all you do!
Have a great summer.