Houseparents Reflect on Acts of Kindness

Houseparents, Bette and Mike (top right) pose for a silly photo with the girls they look after at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The following reflection was written by Bette and Mike, two houseparents at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Our loving houseparents are an integral part of our mission to care for the whole child — mind, body heart and spirit.


My husband, Mike, and I have had the joy of working at St. Joseph’s Indian School for just over five years. If we were asked to express what we felt was the most positive aspect of our job, we would — without hesitation — state it is the children, families and staff we come into contact with. Following that, we would add keeping the focus on helping others is so prevalent in our mission.

Our school has a goal to serve others, and St. Joseph’s has been doing that for over 90 years. We have a delivery truck that takes clothing and much needed items to outlying reservation communities in need. We call these trips “mission runs”.  Food boxes and gas vouchers are provided to assist students’ families. St. Joseph’s also has guest housing available to give families a place to stay while visiting their children on campus. There is a bookmobile that delivers free books and school supplies to children and adults in reservation communities all over South Dakota. There is also an alumni program to provide a helping hand and a listening ear when needed.

Indeed, we could fill a whole page with the acts of kindness our school is a part of.

Acts of kindness do not stop with the staff and volunteers at our school. St. Joseph’s is committed to planting seeds for the children in our care. Each year, houseparents are asked to complete two service projects with each campus home. It is just one aspect of our position that we look forward to and eagerly fulfill each year. We know from our experience the children who perform these acts of kindness receive as much joy — if not more — as the recipients themselves.

The children at St. Joseph’s have greatly enjoyed creating no-sew blankets and cards for the animals housed at a local shelter. They have colored pictures for lonely seniors and made cards for a sick child who was in a hospital. They’ve even sent cards to college students needing encouragement to give them a reminder that someone cares. Our children have created surprise door decorations to welcome a new teacher to our school and to spread happiness during the Valentine season. Others have visited nursing homes and baked cupcakes for a neighboring church in Fort Thompson, S.D.

As you can imagine, we are not able to list each and every good deed our school is a part of — from gifts-in-kind donations to simple acts that bring such joy to others. However, it is a reminder — especially when times can be a little tougher — that if we make a choice to focus on what we can do to help others rather than what we can get for ourselves, we can feel God’s love surrounding us and creating a much better world.

Thank you!

Bette & Mike

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 90 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.

7 thoughts on “Houseparents Reflect on Acts of Kindness”

  1. I love that I have been a part of south dakota learning things not many people have a chance to learn I love that you have such a great program for the natives who may not have the opurttunitys as every one else and that you are there to organize healthy positive choices for indigenous people

  2. Thank you for that uplifting testimonial. My wife and I try to send a small check or two every year to St. Joseph’s and hope to someday be able to visit and tour the school; maybe at the powwow. We are proud of the time and compassion you have shared with the Lakato nation.

  3. I see that your patron, Saint Joseph, protector of families, is doing amazing work at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I am blessed to be able to share in their successes through the messages they send, which I share with my grandchildren.

    May God reward you for your dedication to provide the beautiful children at St. Joseph’s the care, education and love they so much deserve!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing our messages! God Bless and take care!

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