Hi, my name is Bob. My wife Angela and I are high school houseparents here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, working with girls in grades 9-12. At St. Joseph’s, the high school
students live on campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School. They participate in sports, clubs and other extra-curricular activities. It’s a great way to stay involved with the community!
Houseparents normally have summer off. This summer, however, we stayed on campus to work in one of the break homes. But not just any break home… this one was special – the Transitional Living Program for our oldest students.
Two homes were open to offer this opportunity to St. Joseph’s upperclassmen – one for the girls and one for the boys. Each student was ready to see what
a dorm-style, away-from-home lifestyle would be like. It was designed to be much like they will experience in college.
The program had several ground rules:
- Student had to have a job and provide their own transportation to and from that job.
- Each student was responsible for their own preparation of meals, laundry and housekeeping.
- Those who had the privilege of driving St. Joseph’s cars (which most of them did) were responsible for their own gas and oil as needed.
- Each student could come and go as they chose, provided they let the on-duty staff know where they were going and when they planned to return. They also had to check in by phone from time to time.
- They had to return by curfew and could not leave the Chamberlain area.
- Sunday morning all students attended church services on campus. If they were working, they attended Mass elsewhere during a time they were not working.
Our eight students had various jobs, both on St. Joseph’s campus and in the Chamberlain community. We had students work in the restaurant field, at a car dealership and at a hotel.
After the six-week program concluded, the students went home to finish their summer vacation and spend some time with their families. Hopefully, they went with a better understanding of work ethic and independence that will help them in the future.
We had a great group of students and really enjoyed spending some of their summer with them. We saw some real life changes in this group of wonderful, mature, young adults and hope the experience will impact their future in a positive way.
Thank you for the support you give St. Joseph’s Indian School to make these opportunities possible for the Lakota students!