This blog entry is submitted by Deb Stelmach, a graduate student in the Mental Health Counseling program at Viterbo University. Deb writes about her experiences on Thursday, Nov, 19, during her volunteer trip to Pine Ridge last week.
Today the Behavioral Health team had two destinations. Part of the group participated in the Head Start Health Fair. Their supplies included kinetic sand, bubbles, and flash cards. We thought we’d have sufficient supplies; however, we ran short about 150! The children enjoyed playing with cars on the carpet highway, while our team members enjoyed interacting with the children and caregivers. The other half of the team provided programming on trauma care and resilience to individuals who provide services for adolescents and young adults in the area. Conversations promoted collaboration about how to work through on going challenges while enhancing strengths.
On our way back to the ranch, we encountered six horse riders carrying flags leading a funeral procession. Cars were pulled over for quite an extended period time as the procession passed. We were fortunate to witness such respect and dignity.
A quick detour to the Singing Horse Trading Post yielded beads, baubles, and turtles! Our last meal together included guests who shared amazing Lakota history from a personal perspective giving us a final glimpse of the strengths and challenges of an incredibly insightful nation of people.
By Deb Stelmach