Mike, St. Joseph's Food Service Coordinator at the White House.
“I’m really proud of the work we’re doing for the Lakota boys and girls through the Healthier Schools Challenge,” said Mike, pictured here on the White House lawn.
On October 17, Fr. Steve and Mike, St. Joseph’s Food Services Coordinator, traveled to Washington DC for a special reception hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House.

The event was held in honor of schools around the country that have made improvements to their school lunch program through the Healthier US Schools Challenge (HUSSC). St. Joseph’s Indian School received the Silver Award from HUSSC earlier this year.

“It was a great honor,” said Mike. “This award shows we’re doing the best we can in providing nutritious, healthy foods for the Lakota (Sioux) children. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done through HUSSC, because it’s really going to make a difference for these kids in the long run they are going to live longer, healthier lives.”
Fr. Steve, Director of St. Joseph's Indian School.
Roger Campbell, South Dakota’s Director of Indian Education, presented the Silver Award to Fr. Steve in May.

The Healthier US Schools program reinforces all-around wellness, including physical activity and nutrition education. Studies have found that Native Americans in the United States are nearly twice as likely as other ethnic groups to:
  • be obese
  • to die from diabetes
  • to die from cancer
To combat these terrible findings, Mike and his staff have helped lead the way for other schools working with Native American children.

“We took it one step at a time,” said Mike. “In South Dakota, there’s a very ‘meat & potatoes’ mentality about food, so we knew that introducing more vegetables and reducing starch was going to be a challenge. For the sake of the Lakota children, however, it’s well worth the effort.”

Today at St. Joseph’s, students can choose from a salad bar with fresh fruits and vegetables every day. In addition, sweet potatoes, brown rice and other whole grains have been introduced and are now on the menu regularly.


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