Monday, June 23, 2008

By Nicole Duciaume, Documentation and Sponsorship Support Officer for Christian Children's Fund

CCF proudly works in many communities throughout the United States, including several in the great state of South Dakota. In the coming weeks CCF will launch a new program on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. In preparation for the launch, I traveled to South Dakota to learn about the programmatic goals, meet the staff and provide some feedback on sponsorship and program integration. It is an exciting time for CCF as we reach out to new families and continue our global movement to improve the lives of children.

Accompanying me on the trip was Cynthia Price, CCF’s new director of communications. We met at the airport early Monday morning and slowly made our way across country meandering through terminals and navigating among the hoards of summer travelers. In between messages from the pilots, we took the opportunity to finish our pre-trip readings.

I flipped through the dossier of information: Cheyenne River Indian Reservation encompasses two of the poorest counties in all of the United States. The area is scarcely populated with great distances between homes. In the winter months transportation is nearly impossible for days at a time. It is the land of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. More specifically, these families are members of the Lakota Tribe, the same as Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Despite their rich culture and history, poverty manifests itself in higher than average rates of school drop out, suicide, alcoholism, unemployment, neglect and diabetes related obesity.

As the plane descended into Rapid City, S.D., I closed the various files and prepared for landing. There is always a palpable excitement when the plane touches down and the anticipation for the week ahead comes to a climax - what I will learn, see, do, understand, share, explore, teach, and wonder. Immediately outside of baggage claim we were greeted by Deb Douglas, CCF’s Northern Plains area manager. Later that evening we returned to the airport to pick up another traveling companion, Julia Campbell, the program coordinator for the CCF U.S. programs.

And thus our South Dakota adventure began.

1 comment:

starbright1919 said...

The Cheyenne River Program sounds great! I am looking forward to sponsoring my first child that is from the US. I am sure the experience will be as remarkable as my 3 overseas sponsors. And I may even be able to save enough to visit!!