One of the best jobs around…

Kelli, Development/Child Services Liaison.
Kelli, Development/Child Services Liaison


My name is Kelli and I am the new Development/Child Services Liaison here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Although I may be a little biased, I think my job is one of the best jobs around! I get to spend time with the Lakota students and Child Services staff here at St. Joseph’s while still being in touch with our donors through our Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram pages.

In one month, I have already gotten to participate in some pretty amazing things.

On the first day of school for the Lakota students, our Lakota Studies teachers held a smudging ceremony outside of Our Lady of the Sioux chapel. Smudging souls is something that has been done for generations in tribal cultures. Smudging helps to rid a person or area of unwanted energies that aren’t helpful as well as bless new areas, items or places so that a fresh start is felt in the heart.

It was a powerful experience to be present during the smudging ceremony. As students and staff walked through the smoke and washed it over their bodies, they emerged with focus, grace and excitement for the year ahead!

Our Lakota (Sioux) students stand behind the Air & Space Museum sign during their field trip.
Our 5th grade students enjoyed their time at the Air & Space Museum!

Shortly after the beginning of the school year, I was invited to participate in STARBASE activities with our 5th grade students. STARBASE is a program that combines science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with exciting experiments and hands-on activities to motivate students to explore these subjects as they continue their education.

During one project, the students devised ways to protect an egg strapped into a model space shuttle before the shuttles were launched down a wire into a head-on collision. To culminate the week, the 5th graders took a field trip to Rapid City, South Dakota to visit the Air & Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Although the air conditioner on our bus did not work on the way back home, a great time was had by all!

In mid-August, St. Joseph’s Indian School started their fall sports practices. I have been enjoying spending my evenings working on volleyball skills with our 6-8th grade girls. Our first game is in about 10 days!

On Tuesday, one of the 6th grade volleyball girls who has been having a little bit of a tough time adjusting asked me if I would join her during Thursday’s cross country practice. As a 6th grader, it takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, so of course I said yes! Since I am not a runner, I would greatly appreciate your prayers and good thoughts today after school!

Thank you for your generosity and support. You are truly making a difference in the lives of the Lakota students here in our care. They are becoming phenomenal young men and women because of YOU!

Kelli Swenson

Development/Child Services Liaison

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.

10 thoughts on “One of the best jobs around…”

  1. Thank you for the work you do, I worked as a community resource specialist in Montana and worked with many rural and native american communities. Native cultures are amazing and yet face so many challenges it is good to know people like you are there.

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