As a Lead Agency for Youth Service America’s Global Youth Service Day, Lakota Children’s Enrichment turned the week of April 13 into a celebration of the arts in collaboration with LCE’s Youth Advisory Board and Reservation Schools. Approaching the date, LCE picked up many national sponsors and local sponsors (from the Rapid City area), added a GenerationOn project to #FightHungerTogether, and registered the week part of LCE’s #GenerationIndigenous (#GenI) challenge.
Below are reports on Street Art, #Gems, Painting and Expression Clinics at American Horse School, Little Wound School, the report on a Youth Summit and –last but not least– Summer Montileaux’s #GenI Challenge to #FightHungerTogether.
Throughout the week Team LCE, Founder Maggie Dunne, Spoken Word Performer Jasmine Mans and Multi-Media Artist Andres Gallardo painted their way through Street Art Alley in Rapid City SD and communities of Pine Ridge, engaging youth at every turn.
We asked master artist Andres Gallardo to design a new Mt. Rushmore, and he asked us “who’s hot?” Below are OUR picks: hip hop musician extraordinaire Frank Waln, author Sherman Alexie and the Schimmel sisters, Louisville basketball stars. Shonie Schimmel went onto to play with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, and on a small world note, Jude Schimmel was one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women in 2014, as were both Maggie Dunne and Jasmine Mans in 2012.
Andres made portraits of all of the above (and more) into #GEMS which he distributed all over the Reservation, Rapid City and the Badlands. #GEMS are vinyl LP discs with messages, symbols and art that Andres has deposited all over the world.
Black Hills Vinyl donated 500 old vinyl LPs to the project and by the end of the week Andres, Team LCE and students from across the reservation (under the supervision of Andres) had decorated more than 400 vinyl records!
On Wednesday April 15, 2015, Team LCE (Maggie Dunne, Andres Gallardo and Jasmine Mans) brought spoken word and art programs to the American Horse School in Allen SD. Students did a rotation from one classroom where they worked with Jasmine to find their inner voices and then moved on to another room where they learned how to make a #GEM or another artistic creation on a vinyl record. Pictures of the students in action are coming soon — it was a creative blast!
On Friday April 17, Team LCE (Maggie Dunne, Andres Gallardo and Autumn White Eyes) brought spoken word and arts programs to the Little Wound School in Kyle SD. Below are just some of the artists at work! And. while he was there, Andres painted a small mural on the door to a classroom!
On Thursday April 16, the full Team LCE (Maggie Dunne, Andres Gallardo, Jasmine Mans and Autumn White Eyes) presided at an Award Ceremony celebrating the voices and art of Native Youth in its #WeAreHere Writing and Art Challenge. You can read the full report on the Award Ceremony HERE.
All the winners received plaques, gift cards and a #GEM. The Red Cloud Indian School hosted the event and received two grants because its students won BOTH of the Grand Prizes in the Writing Challenge this year!
On Saturday April 18 Lakota Children’s Enrichment wrapped up the week with a Youth Summit at the Rockyford School, where participants celebrated art, culture, expression and collaborated in a service project to address hunger.
Youth Advisory Board members Summer Montileaux, Marcus Ruff, Payton Sierra, Paisley Sierra and others helped set up the Rockyford Cafeteria, creating stations for Spoken Word exercises with Autumn White Eyes and Jasmine Mans, painting with Andres Gallardo and building edible gardens with LCE Youth Board Vice Chair Summer Montileaux and Maggie Dunne.
Everyone rotated through the stations and took shifts at each activity — and at times, the adult chaperones jumped in! We took a short break for lunch, which was delivered by a member of the Rapid City Evening Division of the Rotary Club – she drove all the way from Rapid City to deliver a load of fresh six-foot heros and salads. During the brief lunch break, emerging spoken word artists performed for an enthusiastic crowd.
Autumn and Jasmine encouraged youth to tell their stories and to step out of their comfort zones by reflecting inward to find their own unique voice. Each person was given a journal, pen and post-its to write messages – – the journals were for private reflections, and the post-its for public thoughts. Goals and important values that youth posted on public boards included:
Last but certainly not least was the edible container garden project produced at the Summit by LCE Youth Board Vice Chair Summer Montileaux. Summer is interested in being a pediatrician some day, and has run several programs at past events promoting good nutrition, health and wellness.
Summer proposed a gardening project, so her peers could have gardening experiences. We identified a GenerationOn grant that was detailed to exactly that mission — to #FightHungerTogether. Summer applied for the grant by herself (listing LCE as a mentor and sponsor), and she got it! This provided her with $500 to buy gardening tools, gloves, potting soil, containers, seedlings and other items for the assembly of 48 edible container gardens. This was the third grant that Summer has received in the past year! Go Girl!
All of the youth who attended the summit built container gardens, and the left over materials were shared at a school on the Reservation in the following days. Summer reached out to Lindsey Montileaux, a student she met when she visited South Dakota State college, who in turn, engaged her track team and her home community in the event. Lindsey and team arrived at the Summit with over 100 pounds of potting soil and other materials that her community and college contributed towards the gardens!
Even wearing gloves, everyone got their hands dirty as they assembled 48 container gardens that then were distributed throughout the reservation. The medium and large patio pots were filled with patio strawberries, patio tomatoes, pepper plants and herbs (rosemary, mint and chocolate mint). These plants were chosen because they will continue to produce edibles throughout the entire summer.
Three cheers for Summer and thanks to GenerationOn for helping us #FightHungerTogether.
At the end of the day, the clean-up crew took a break to give a #WeAreHere Cheer!