The Lakota Circles of Hope (LCH) program is a substance, alcohol and tobacco prevention program for 2nd to 5th grade students.
Essentially all of the children at St. Joseph’s Indian School have been exposed to alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse early in their lives by individuals in their communities. The Lakota Circles of Hope program focuses on making healthy choices and not being influenced by those who do not make good choices.
During the ten sessions throughout the year, students are inspired to make healthy decisions for themselves in the context of Lakota traditions and the primary cultural values of generosity, courage, wisdom and respect. In learning about cultural practices and traditions, students become self-aware and begin to apply these values to the decision making process.
Saying No: Children learn that it is ok to say no and walk away from an unhealthy situation. Saying no and learning to deal with — and get out of — potentially harmful situations is a focus of Lakota Circles of Hope.
Self-Respect and Self-Esteem: The Lakota value of respect is an important one for children, providing the framework for understanding the importance of respect for others and themselves. Lakota Circles of Hope shows the connection between respect for others and how it contributes to one’s own self-respect and self-esteem.
Improved Communication with Trusted Adults: Helping children understand the importance of open and honest communication with trusted adults like their parents, teachers and elders is a key component to Lakota Circles of Hope.
April, St. Joseph’s Family/Student Care Specialist and resident ‘grandmother’ explained that "implementing this program has helped our little free Spirits feel a sense of belonging." She is encouraged that students are learning about the Native American culture. "It is working!" she says.
Communication in any community is a first step preventing substance use, depression and antisocial behaviors.
St. Joseph’s Indian School implemented the Lakota Circles of Hope program during the 2013-2014 school year. It has been a great way for our staff to encourage students to make good decisions and develop life skills.
Thank you for supporting St. Joseph’s Indian School. You make programs like this possible!