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Students show some love and have some fun during the Valentine Celebration.
Did you know that about 47% of students at St. Joseph’s Indian School have been exposed to drug and alcohol abuse? Because of this, we work with our students to make good choices and to overcome trauma that these young people may have experienced as a result of these addictions. Special events and regular classes help teach students about substance abuse and how to say ‘NO’ to using alcohol and drugs.
The following is an overview of just a few of the things Chris, St. Joseph’s Prevention Coordinator, works on to help our students:
Native Americans are disproportionately affected by substance abuse and the children in our care are not an exception. Some of them have been affected by substance abuse at some point in their young lives. If it’s not with their immediate families, they’ve seen the devastating effects of drugs and alcohol within their extended families and/or communities.
Here at St. Joseph’s, we believe prevention is important for helping our students grow up to be healthy, well-rounded adults. One of my roles is to facilitate a curriculum called Lakota Circles of Hope. Our students start the program in the second grade and build upon it through eighth grade. The idea behind the program is that culture is prevention. By reconnecting with their culture, young people are less likely to choose self-destructive behaviors like gang activity, suicide, drugs and alcohol. The program focuses on the Lakota values and covers topics like peer-pressure, healthy boundaries, decision-making and self-esteem.
We also hold Sobriety Celebrations throughout the school year. One of these events is a Valentine Celebration. Our Substance Abuse Prevention Committee recently hosted a carnival for grades one through six where students played some fun games and won some cool prizes. One of my favorite things about the carnival is how willing our older students are to volunteer their time and help out with the games. Following the carnival, middle and high school students had some fun with black light volleyball. During these celebrations, we remind our students that there are many ways to have fun without using drugs and alcohol.
It’s your kindness and generosity that makes Lakota Circles of Hope and Sobriety Celebrations possible. Thank you for supporting our programs and the wonderful children in our care!
St. Joseph’s Prevention Coordinator