Stand Firm in Our Strengths: St. Joseph’s Indian School Named Best Nonprofit of 2020
By: Danielle Kucera, St. Joseph’s Indian School
In 2020, St. Joseph's Indian School—a member of the American Indian Catholic Schools Network (AICSN) demonstrated what it means to be St. Joe Strong to its employees, our community and our state. When it would have been easy to take a "sit tight and see what happens" approach to the pandemic, the organization exercised foresight in every measure. For that, the school was recognized as Best Nonprofit by the Chamberlain-Oacoma Area Chamber of Commerce at an awards gala on Saturday, February 6, 2021.
The winning nomination cited these efforts:
- Employees remained on payroll, even though there were no students on campus from March 13 through the beginning of August. This measure supported employees and had an economic effect in our community where they shop for goods and services. Child Services employees responded St. Joe Strong by finding innovative ways to meet the needs of families. For example, they sent educational packets to students and delivered spirit gifts (hygiene articles, sage, prayers, etc.) to buoy the elderly and health care workers in our communities.
- No one knew how donors' generosity might fare during the pandemic, but Development forged ahead, reconfiguring work environments for safety and keeping the lines of donor communication open. Development employees went the extra distance to keep the financial footings of the organization St. Joe Strong.
- We held our families close through constant communication, moving forward with plans to build the new sjiskids.org website with resources to stay connected and reaching out through the Counseling Services team to provide emotional support and meet material needs. Employees made food box deliveries to every family on five occasions.
- From March onward, with all of the uncertainty that came with the pandemic, planning continued full-force to re-open school doors in August.
Planners considered every aspect: health screenings, quarantines, isolation when needed, remote learning, social distancing with movement plans for the campus and more. When the day arrived, our families trusted their students' care to us, and the St. Joe mission continued strong.
St. Joseph’s Indian School is a powerful asset to the community and an organization that met uncertainty with certain vision that matches its mission and looks to the future with resiliency.
Learn more about the American Indian Catholic Schools Network at aicsn.org.