Our Team

Sydney

Sydney Mills Farhang

(Oglala Sioux Tribe)

Executive Director

Sydney Mills Farhang is a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota and grew up in Sacramento, California. She received bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and has over 10 years’ experience in domestic and international non-profit management, program development, and fundraising. She is dedicated community-led development and maintaining organizational transparency, and her passion for her Lakota culture and creating an equitable, inclusive society for Native Americans is reflected in her work. Sydney oversees the development and strategic implementation of Running Strong’s programs across the country and works to meet Running Strong’s communications and funding goals. 

Rose

Rose Fraser

(Oglala Sioux Tribe)

Field Coordinator

Rose is a community leader who has worked in the non-profit sector for over 20 years. As Field Coordinator, she runs the Oyate Teca Project in Kyle, SD and works to create food access and entrepreneurial opportunities for families on the Pine Ridge Reservation through the Medicine Root Gardening program. She studied Computer Science at Oglala Lakota College, and has extensive training in business management, financial management, human resources, and grant writing. She was also one of six inaugural MIT Oceti Sakowin Solve Fellows in 2018 for her gardening work. Rose directs Running Strong’s Oyate Ta Kola Ku community center on Pine Ridge, and oversees the  Medicine Root Gardening program. 

Daffne Reyes

Program Assistant

Daffne, of Honduran Mayan descent, was born and raised in North Carolina and has over 4 years of experience in working in non-profit organizations. She is studying Business Management at Northern Virginia Community College. She provides critical support to Running Strong’s many programs, is working to expand our newest Intertribal Creatives cultural initiative, and helps oversee operations at our HQ office in Alexandria, VA.

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Mariah Plummer

(Navajo Nation)

Program Assistant

Mariah was born and raised within the Six Sacred Mountains of the Navajo Nation in Arizona. She moved to Utah after graduating high school at the top of her class to pursue a higher education at Utah Valley University. As a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) with her Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, her objective is to strategically develop, implement, and evaluate health education programs specializing in Indigenous populations. When she is not working with other organizations, she proactively embracing cultural teachings among youth populations and creating healthy social relationships with other Indigenous peoples across Indian Country. Mariah helps to expand Running Strong’s programs and reach to the Western and Southwestern regions of the United States. 

Karen

Karen Lone Elk

(Oglala Sioux Tribe)

Program Assistant

Karen was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is passionate about giving back to her community. She received her Associate’s in Accounting and Business, and supports our field operations on Pine Ridge. She works closely with our Field Coordinators to connect families to clear running water and get the heating assistance they need in the winter.

Ken

Ken Lone Elk

(Oglala Sioux Tribe)

Field Coordinator

Ken, who has been working with Running Strong for over 30 years, attended University of California Berkeley studying Drafting, Design and Building Construction & Technology. He is a Master Carpenter and woodworker, and oversees Running Strong’s water connection and home repair programs on Pine Ridge. For decades he has been, and continues to be, incredibly dedicated to improving the lives of his fellow Lakota families.

Dave

Dave Lone Elk

(Oglala Sioux Tribe)

Field Coordinator

Dave was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and oversees Running Strong’s food and critical heat assistance programs on Pine Ridge. He has been with Running Strong for nearly a decade, and is a rising leader in his community.

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Kyle Swann

(Piscataway Conoy Tribe)

Program Intern

Kyle is a member of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, born and raised in Maryland. He is an ambitious art student with two AA degrees and is passionate about serving his tribe and the Native community in the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area. Kyle is working to see the expansion of Running Strong’s Intertribal Creatives initiative and help support the Dreamstarter program. 

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Joshua Smith

(Osage nation)

Microenterprise Development Program Coordinator

Josh, a member of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma, graduated with his BS in Theology, his Master of Divinity, and his Masters in Business Administration. He has many years experience working in the non-profit sector, in strategic relations, and is the owner and operator of Ekowah Coffee. Josh is a skilled entrepreneur who uses his talents to oversee and run Running Strong’s new Microenterprise Development Program to help support Native entrepreneurs and small businesses through loans and hands-on mentorship.

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Stacie Lee

(Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe)

Summer Youth Food Program Coordinator

Stacie has spent her career serving the youth on the Cheyenne River Reservation, where she was born and raised. She is passionate about securing food for families on the reservation, both through her work at Running Strong and Cheyenne-Eagle Butte School where she is the Food Service Manager. Stacie oversees the Summer Youth Feeding Program on Cheyenne River Reservation, ensuring over 10,000 children receive lunch during the week each summer.