Hello, my name is Sherry. I am one of the 1st-5th grade girls Family Service Counselor here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I am also St. Joseph’s Indian School’s FAST (Families and Schools Together) Trainer. I came to St. Joseph’s in 1999 where I began as a Child Care worker with the 6th-8th grade community. While I was a Child Care Worker, St. Joseph’s Indian School graciously allowed me to pursue my Master’s Degree which led to the current position I hold at this time.
During the summer time, I am busy with traveling to visit my families on my caseload. I enjoy this part of the summer because it allows me to visit with the Native American families and students in their own environment. The students and families are usually happy to see me and share with me what has been going on since summer break began in May. One of the big questions when I go out is,
When does school start again?
One of the other important things along with travel that I do in the summer is Admissions. I go out and meet with the new families and students. We fill out a social history to get to know the family and then the child will also answer some fun questions about themselves, so I can get to know them a bit on a personal level. Once the information is collected in the files I have for the summer, I then share the information with the Admissions Board and then it is decided whether or not St. Joseph’s Indian School would be a good fit for the family and most importantly for the child.
This summer, I was also fortunate to be able to be recertified as the FAST Trainer for St. Joseph’s Indian School. I traveled to Madison, Wisconsin where I spent two days going through the rectification process. FAST (FST Inc.) is an eight week researched based, family program that helps parents become the primary prevention agent in their child’s life. The goals of the FAST Program are to enhance family functioning by strengthening the parent-child relationship and by empowering the parents. The second goal is to prevent school failure, by improving the child’s performance and behavior in the school, empowering the parents to take a role in their child’s educational process and increasing the family’s affiliation with the school. The third goal is to prevent substance abuse in children and families by increasing knowledge and awareness of this problem and its impact in child development and linking families to assessments and treatment services and the final goal is to reduce stress parents and children experience in daily situations by developing informal support systems and linking with community resources and services.
These goals are met through the different activities the parent(s) and child(ren) complete together during a FAST night on campus. A typical night of FAST generally last for about two and half hours, in which the families play games and share a meal together. Some of the activities other than the meal are: making a family flag, scribbles (drawing activity), feeling charades, kids time, buddy time, parent group, closing circle and rain. On the 7th session we have a Substance Abuse Prevention presentation by our Prevention Specialist or one of the other counselors. The families and staff alike enjoy doing the activities.
I hope that you all are having a wonderful summer!