Keeping Our Youth Warm
Schools and Youth Centers
in Shawnee, Oklahoma (Intertribal)
"These are new coats and hats with the tags still on! They are not second hand coats that someone else has already worn like we always get? This is the best gift we've gotten." Native youth from Oklahoma
During the cold winter we all strive to keep warm. A hefty winter coat is definitely a necessity during the harsh winter time. Tewanna from the Fellowship of American Indians sought out help from Running Strong for American Indian Youth to bundle the kids she works with to keep them toasty warm while enduring the bitter cold winter of Oklahoma. The Fellowship of American Indians focuses on the youth of the community, which 85% of the children are below the proverty level and have absent parents due to incarceration. Oklahoma has the highest percent of incarcerated women in the United States. Many of the children come from these broken homes. Grandparents are often left to care for the children on fixed incomes. Unfortunately there is never enough money to cover all expenses of the children.
Many stories from the youth were of surprise, since they were expecting second hand coats and hats. Tewanna and her husband were pleased to spend Christmas with some young women who were not able to spend Christmas with their entire family. Although a coat could not replace the warmth of family together during the holidays, Tewanna gave the youth in her community some comfort and joyful company.
The Fellowship of American Indians is just one program that benefits from Running Strong's coat program. Many Native youth live in cold weather climates and are in need of dependable winter clothing to keep them warm, so they can stay active and involved in their schools and communities.
Location: South Dakota
Tribe: Cheyenne River Indian Reservation
Location: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, SD
Tribe: Oglala Lakota