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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America

 

September 22, 2001 - Issue 45

 
 

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Programs Build Fond Memories

 
 

 by Rapid City Journal Staff-September 7, 2001

 
ROCKYFORD Having grown up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Maggie Ross knows how little there is for kids to do when school is out.

"I remember one time, briefly, when I was a child going to school at Loneman, they had a recreation program," Ross said. Years later, she still remembers the arts and crafts projects.

As head of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program at Rockyford and Red Shirt, Ross tries to provide today's children with similar memories.

"What we're hoping is we'll build their self-esteem and really give them a good center," she said. "We hope that we build these programs so that they stay in school."

The 21st Century program offers after-school activities at reservation schools. Girl Scouts is one of those activities at Rockyford .

"All the girls that have been in Girl Scouts, they've changed a lot in their perspectives," said Ross, whose daughter is a Girl Scout. "It's a big thing. And the boys are (asking), 'When are we getting Boy Scouts?'"

(Answer: "As soon as I find some troop leaders.")

The 21st Century program received a three-year grant. Students might learn beadwork, do arts and crafts, build model cars, play board games or get help with homework. Late-activity buses provide rides home.

"We usually had anywhere from three to seven activities a night," Ross said, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Nightly attendance ran from 50 to 120 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

There are also 21st Century programs at Batesland and Wolf Creek, and Ross said new programs have started at Little Wound and Porcupine.

Ross also organized her first summer-recreation program this year, with games and field trips. The kids went fishing, hiking, swimming, to movies and museums. Community members were invited, too.

Ross would like to offer more cultural events, such as a Rapid City symphony concert and plays, but funding is an issue. The main thing is providing kids with something to do.

"Hopefully they'll remember something," Ross said. "We're not going to save everybody, but if we manage to get 10 of them. ..."
 

21st Century Community Learning Centers
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced the award of nearly $206 million in new 21st Century Community Learning Center grants. The new grants will go to 308 school districts, working in partnership with community-based organizations, to establish centers in 1,420 rural and inner-city public schools
http://www.ed.gov/21stcclc/

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