So much good takes place in the St. Joseph’s Indian School Rec Center every day. Whether it’s through organized athletics, a dip in the pool or a workout session in the weight room, Native American children and young adults are learning the importance of movement.
But, the building in its current state can only allow for so much. The existing facility was constructed in 1974, almost 50 years ago. A nearly half-century old building means there are many shortcomings. In fact, the list of shortcomings is becoming longer than the list of positives.
There are nearly 200 students living and learning at St. Joseph’s. When surveyed, 60% said there were times they would have liked to use the gym, but could not because it was full.
That’s six out of 10 missed opportunities. Six out of 10 attempts
made by students to move their bodies, but could not. There is a lack of gym and storage space. Some areas also do not meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. Therefore, it’s time to renovate and expand.
Planning is in the works and ground will be broken April 13 to not only take this 1970s building into the present, but also the future. The new addition will include a second gym to allow for more organized activities and open gym spaces for students of varying ages. The new addition will more seamlessly accommodate gymnastics, wrestling, archery and cheer, while volleyball and basketball can take place in the current gym. It will include separate offices, restrooms, a multi-purpose room and exercise spaces for students and staff. All of this and more while meeting ADA requirements.
Over the years, it’s true to say this building was pieced together. Well, now it’s time to make sense of the puzzle. Our students are counting on us and you.
Students like Louie, an alumnus who said, “Basketball is basically what got me to finish school. I stuck through it and it was what kept me going — especially after my parents passed.”
Or students like ShyAnne, who said, “Some of us are really competitive [in archery]. We want to get better. Sometimes it just feels a little too cramped to really get a good practice.”
And then there are stories like Zeke’s. Stories that would not be possible without the programs offered at St. Joseph’s that accommodate kids of all abilities.
“St. Joseph’s helped me do something I really like and be out there with my friends,” said Zeke, who was born with a spinal condition that impacts the way he is able to play basketball. “It felt good to be a part of the team.”
Some kids don’t always find their true passion in the classroom. Sometimes they first find it on the court, in the gym or in the swimming pool. Although viewed as extra-curricular buildings, places like the Rec Center can be what keeps kids centered. It makes them a part of a team. It creates spaces to channel their feelings into movement positively.
On the surface, it may look like students are just exercising, but so much more is happening beneath the surface. The most important changes — the ones you can’t see happening — they take with them into other areas of their lives.
If you would like to be involved with making this renovation and expansion to the Rec Center a reality, please visit www.stjo.org/rec, or contact Denise Hyland at 1-800-584-9200 or Denise.Hyland@stjo.org. God bless you for your generosity!