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We Are a Midwest Finalist For a Classy Award!

Please take a MINUTE to click HERE to vote for MAGGIE DUNNE in the MIDWEST impact, COLLEGE student category!

Founder Maggie Dunne has been selected as one of five Regional Finalists for the Midwest impact College Student category —  and in order to move to the next level 50% of the process will depend upon the public vote!


Please VOTE by July 26, 2012.

If you follow us, then please show your support and SHARE this link and urge your friends to cast a vote. It is SIMPLE and QUICK — you do not HAVE to go past the Midwest Page — just make sure that you confirm your final vote! You can always return later and vote in other categories.

Satisfied customers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

Want to know more about Maggie? 

GLAMOUR MAGAZINE:  Glamour Magazine Names Maggie Dunne Top 10 College Student (May 2012 Edition); Follow Up Editor’s Column on Maggie Dunne (August 2012 Edition) Video of Top 10 College Women (Maggie Dunne featured second)
TRIDELTA PUBLICATION: Article About Nomination and Voting Process
The CLASSY Awards is the largest philanthropic awards ceremony in the country, celebrating the greatest charitable achievements by nonprofit organizations, socially conscious businesses, and individuals worldwide. In 2011, over 2,000 organizations and volunteers were nominated for a CLASSY Award, and their collective efforts impacted the lives of more than 200,000,000 people in 71 countries worldwide. This year over 2,400 organizations and volunteers were nominated.

A Profile From Pine Ridge: Keith Martinez

From Pine Ridge Reservation in SD to Scarsdale, NY onto Villanova University as a Presidential Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar

by Maggie Dunne and Cindy Dunne

DSC01268One afternoon three years ago, Keith Martinez was called to the front office of the Little Wound High School in Kyle, South Dakota, and an administrator asked him if he would be interested in participating in an intensive college preparation program in New York.

If selected and if he worked hard, after two years Keith could be positioned to attend a competitive college.

After a brief trip with his mother to New York for interviews and testing, Keith left the Pine Ridge Reservation to spend his junior and senior years at Scarsdale High School as a participant in the Student Transfer Education Program (STEP), a two-year program designed to give talented students from outside the community a boost to succeed in college.

Last month Keith graduated from the Scarsdale High School in New York. He will enter Villanova University in the fall of 2012 as a Presidential Scholar and a Gates Millennium Scholar. Villanova was one of 9 schools that offered Keith admission.

We caught up with Keith in May of 2012 in Scarsdale NY and asked him about his experience.

Background
Keith was born in South Dakota and never knew his father. Keith spent his elementary school years between Georgia and New Mexico and settled on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 7th grade. Keith said that once he entered High School, he felt significant peer pressure not to devote any time or energy on schoolwork.

“When I entered ninth grade there were about 150 students in my grade and only 45 in the twelfth grade –- by the beginning of my sophomore year my class was only 79 students.  I always knew I wanted to go to college, and so I stayed in school, planned on graduating and hoped to go to college.”

On Pine Ridge Reservation Keith lived in a two-room trailer, with his siblings and his mother. The winter before he entered school in Scarsdale, the roof of his family’s trailer collapsed under the weight of four feet of snow and his family was scattered with relatives all over the Reservation as his mom searched for an alternative residence.

Scarsdale Bound
In the Fall of 2010, Keith entered one of the nation’s most competitive public schools in a community where students actively sought educational challenges and academic excellence was expected. Although he had been in the top quarter of his class at Little Wound, he estimates he was at least a year behind the students in Scarsdale.

Keith said of his academic adjustment: “I always knew that there were more challenging schools out there, but I had not experienced them before I came to Scarsdale.” Keith laughed about how quickly he had to develop study skills – his first week of school in Scarsdale, he “did homework until after midnight every night” – a routine he accepted but had never experienced before.

Keith said he “was surprised by how Scarsdale teachers always expected the best work product possible on every assignment, and also that they did not tolerate any excuses.” On the other hand, he found the teachers very willing to make themselves available before and after school to bring him up to speed if he was struggling with an assignment.

The hardest social adjustment Keith faced was the contrast between life on the Reservation and the wealthy suburbs of New York City:

“In Scarsdale homes are spacious and constructed to withstand the weather, technology ranging from computers, to flat screened TVs and cars are available everywhere, and there are lots of healthy food choices – I was used to wondering where the next meal would come from. I was really surprised to see so many High School students had their own cars — the contrast was a real adjustment.”

Keith lived with a family that welcomed him like one of their own and says of his host father (and role model), Brandon Steiner:

“He grew up in difficult circumstances, got a college education and built successful businesses and gives back to the community. He has stressed to me that anything is possible with hard work, and repeatedly reminded me to keep education and my studies as my top priority.”

Our Questions For Keith

How did you stay focused on your education and do so well in school?

“My education has always been a priority for me. My mom always told me that school is important and she wanted more than anything for me to have the chance to go to college – she always said that education opens doors for your future. I wanted to be that guy who succeeded and was able to do something with his education. I have younger brothers and I always tried to set a good example for my brothers so that they would also try hard in school.”

Are you glad that you participated in the STEP program?

“Yes, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Although it was hard at times, I kept reminding myself why I came here. Without the experience, I would not have set my sights so high. The hard work is not over though — I still have four years ahead of me and I am determined not to become a dropout statistic.I have seen friends obtain scholarships and then never finish college – I am determined to complete the process.”

If you could change one thing about schools on the Reservation, what would it be?

“I wish I could eliminate the apathy among some High School students and teachers. Most teachers start out very enthusiastic but after years of push-back from the students (who refuse to learn and often drop out when it gets challenging), they stop trying to reach the students  – it is a cycle that needs to change. I wish that students would realize that learning and studies are worthwhile, and that they would not give up or drop out when it gets challenging, but instead, seek help and keep trying.”

What studies are you looking forward to, and what are your goals for your education?

“I am excited to take classes in business. I want to get a degree in business and then return to Pine Ridge to help my community with business and community development. I want to be an entrepreneur and go home and help improve the Reservation.”

Do you have any advice for your peers?

“Don’t be afraid to set high goals, don’t abandon your goals — and don’t be afraid to ask for help – by asking for help when you need it, you stand a better chance of getting where you want to go. Believe in your abilities”

What can students on Pine Ridge learn from your experience?

“I hope that my example inspires students to take control over their futures, to set high goals and to resist the peer pressure to drop out or to reject education. I hope that they will respect my accomplishments and that my example will inspire them to go to college and to help our community. With hard work anything is possible.”

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Keith has been an unofficial adviser to us over the last two years and now that he has graduated from High School he will become an official member of our Advisory Board.  We hope to periodically update you on our favorite college student as he adjusts to yet another chapter of life outside his comfort zone!

Inspired? You ought to be! Please join us in congratulating Keith Martinez on his tremendous accomplishments!

Take Action and Spread the Word!

Pictured above: Maggie Dunne visits with girls from Edgewood Elementary School 
who took action, raised money and collected school supplies for Pine Ridge

Our “20k Summer Challenge” is underway and  so far we have raised over $3,000 between our Razoo Fundraising Page and off-line donations!  Our goal is to raise $20k by September to ensure that our exciting projects will have enough funding and we need YOUR help to spread the word.

Some of the projects we hope to fund, or more fully fund, include the following:

  • We are LINKING Elementary School students (on and off the Reservation) through video, service, dialogue and friendship ~  forming friendships on and off the Reservation, both sides learning from each other (the first series of SKYPE dialogues is scheduled to start in the Fall of 2012);
  • We are helping a Reservation school develop a music program (they have asked for recorders and electric guitars);
  • We are filling wish lists of supplies, fun reading materials and Art materials to keep the children reading and creative;
  • We will continue to make sure that children are properly attired to withstand the winter weather of the region (they need snow jackets and boots);
  • We will continue to provide children with proper athletic shoes so they can participate in sports; and
  • We are launching our First Annual writing competition for girls — details coming soon!

Listed below are some quick and easy action steps that YOU can take to HELP us meet our goal:

1. Post our Razoo link on your Facebook Page and encourage your friends to spread the word: Click here for Razoo Page!

2. Tweet the link or retweet our notices @Lakota_Children – You can do this more than once! Different people look at Twitter different times during the day.

3. Send out an email to your friends and family telling them about Lakota Children’s Enrichment and our “20k Summer Challenge.” Read articles linked to our last Blogpost that tell the story about why we are raising 20k.

4. Hold a fundraiser in your community! We can help you brainstorm and send you flyers that you can use. Email us at lakotakids@gmail.com

5. Post a Razoo widget on your blog or Facebook page. Contact us if you need help with this! Check out our RAZOO FUNDRAISING PAGE!

UPDATE: On June 21,2012 students at the Edgewood School in NY presented Maggie Dunne with a check for the Summer Challenge in the amount of $1600, money they raised since she first spoke at the school in January. The have now formed a “Pine-Wood Club” and will be talking by SKYPE to students at a Reservation School in the Fall.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

INSPIRED? Then get involved!  Every $10 contribution counts!

Email us at lakotakids@gmail.com if you have ideas or want to get involved. We love feedback and hearing your creative ideas!
Peace,
The Lakota Children’s Enrichment Team

The $20,000 Summer Challenge: Ambitious? YES! Impossible? NO, not with YOUR help!

A message from Lakota Children’s Enrichment President Maggie Dunne: 

Glamour Magazine Editor-In-Chief Cindi Leive
presenting $20,000 check to Maggie Dunne
Photo Credit: Getty Images

In April 2012, I was awarded the Grand Prize in Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women Contest. What you probably did not know is that I contributed the Prize money in its entirety — $20,000 – to Lakota Children’s Enrichment. When I told Sir Richard Branson (who visited Colgate University this spring) about our work, he agreed to match my contribution through Virgin Unite if a Colgate University alumnus (where I am a student) would also provide matching funds. Ultimately, they both agreed to match my personal contribution, bringing the total raised to $60,000. 

In order to take our operations to a new level, we are challenging the online community, our friends and fans to participate in Lakota Children’s Enrichment’s Summer Challenge: to match my own $20,000 contribution (hyperlink is in text). 
 
It is not hard for most of you to imagine a community where all children have snow coats, snow boots, sneakers for gym class, books on the shelves at school, and an educational curriculum enriched with sports, music, arts and literacy programs.  This kind of community is the norm across most of America — but not on Pine Ridge.

I believe so much in our ability to make a difference in the lives of children of Pine Ridge that I contributed my entire $20,000 award to this cause – will YOU make a small contribution? Every $10 or $20 contribution adds up.

Please visit our Razoo Fundraising page (link above) to see some of the exciting new projects that are under discussion. The more you give, the more we can do! 

Peace,

Maggie Dunne
President and Founder, Lakota Children’s Enrichment

PS) If you have the means and the inclination, please contact us at lakotakids@gmail.com to set up a matching grant challenge of $5000 or above. Matching grant incentives can make a huge difference in fundraising efforts!

Maggie Dunne asking Richard Branson if he knows of a celebrity philanthropist who might be willing to match her own donation of her Glamour Prize money to Lakota Children… and Richard Branson’s reaction!

5th Annual Coat, Boot, Toy and Book Drive

Our 5th Annual Children’s Coat, Boot, Toy and Book Drive is Going On NOW!

As part of USA Weekend’s Make A Difference Day, the months of September and October LPRCEP will be running its 5th Annual Drive to Benefit the children of Pine Ridge Reservation. The link to the USA Weekend Event is HERE (USA Weekend) and the link to the Facebook Event is HERE (Facebook).

If you are in the NY area and want to take part in our local effort, please drop off items at the Scarsdale Congregational Church, Parish House Lobby (red brick building at corner of Heathcote and Post Roads) between NOW and October 20, 2012. We will be packing up all items on Sunday OCTOBER 14 and Saturday October 20, 2012 — please JOIN US!  

ALSO, in the NY area, please SAVE THE DATE of Sunday, October 14, 2012 from 1-3 PM for a Community Awareness Event and Car Wash for Lakota Children, produced by the Scarsdale High School’s Pine Ridge Reservation Aid Club, the Scarsdale Congregational Church Youth Action Committee, and Scarsdale High School’s For Good Measure. There will be entertainment, bake sale, silent auction and opportunities to volunteer. Please join us! 
 

Together we can make a HUGE difference in the lives of children!

FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN OTHER LOCATIONS: 
Please start collecting new or barely used:

  • Children’s COATS 
  • Snow BOOTS 
  • New or barely used TOYS (for holiday parties)
  • Children’s BOOKS (especially books in series)

What can you do to organize?

  • Find partners and friends willing to help you;
  • Arrange for convenient drop off locations in your community;
  • Involve schools, religious organizations, community service groups — set up teams to help you;
  • Ask local store merchants and others to support your efforts by setting up bins to collect donations and by donating new books, coats, toys or boots

Please sign up on the DaytaBank or Facebook Event (links above) and let us know what you are collecting, so that we can direct your donations to places that need the items.

SHIPPING ADDRESSES:

LOCATION ONE -Items for Toddlers and Young Children

Via US Postal Mail
Head Start Preschool
Eagle Nest College Center
Box 350
Wanblee, South Dakota 57577

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
 

LOCATION TWO (Kindergarten through grade 12)

Via US Postal Mail
Crazy Horse School (K-12)
c/o Katheryn Tracy
P.O. Box 260
Wanblee, South Dakota 57577

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 
LOCATION THREE: Infant through Grade 8 (SEE BELOW)
Via US Postal Mail:

American Horse School
Attn: Jodi Richards
P.O. Box 660
Allen, South Dakota 57714


Via UPS/FedEx
American Horse School

Attn: Jodi Richards
100 West Main Street
Allen, SD 57714

NEEDED: This is facility that serves 270 students ages 4 through 14. They also house a FACE program of 50 infants (0-age3) and and 15 preschoolers, 3-5 year olds. 
Coats, boots, warm outerwear of all sizes all needed. Toys are needed for a Halloween Party, too!
 

ITEMS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED BY SCHOOL OFFICIALS DIRECTLY TO STUDENTS

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
LOCATION FOUR: Prenatal Center 
Via US Postal Mail:

 Roberta Ecoffey
OST Healthy Start Prenatal Clinic
P.O. Box 3009
Pine Ridge, South Dakota 57770


NEEDED: Infant through small children, coats, blankets, maternity clothing and warm outerwear; diapers and formula also needed
ITEMS WILL BE DISTRIBUTED TO CUSTOMERS OF THE CLINIC (and their families), THROUGH APPOINTMENTS SET UP BY THE MANAGEMENT.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++LOCATION FIVE: The Red Shirt School in Hermosa, SD has already received many items and we are waiting to hear what else they need for their children. Right now, they need toys for their Halloween party. Their address is:
Barbara Ice, Principal
Red Shirt School
HCR 83 Box 313
Hermosa, SD 57744

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

LEARN. CARE. ACT.