What’s an average day like in your household? If you are a mother, I would imagine that it goes something like this:
Now, let’s look at this from your child’s perspective. Your children most likely have parents who are there to take care of them. If they don’t have extracurricular activities, they probably at least have other entertaining things, such as video and/or computer games, etc., with which to occupy their time. And even if it’s difficult for their parents, I’ll bet they at least try to help the kids with their homework whether it’s by explaining things to them themselves or by hiring a tutor. The kids probably also have a mom or dad who has at one point in time talked to them about what they want to be when they grow up. They ask them about their hopes and dreams, and if they are like the typical American, they probably tell them that they can be anything they choose to be.
Instead of each child having their own bedroom, your children would probably sleep together in the same room on the same mattress on the floor because you don’t have money for even one bedframe. They could wake each morning crowded together clutching at their blankets for warmth. If life for them were like that of many of the families on the reservation, their mom could still be sleeping off the alcohol or drug induced stupor that she was in the night before. Their dad may not be anywhere around. They may not even know who their dad is.
Once they arrived at school, their problems could continue. There, they could face peer pressure to take drugs or drink alcohol. Some children as young as 10 years old try alcohol on the reservations. They could also have to contend with gangs.
Once school is completed for the day, instead of having a parent come pick them up and take them to some extracurricular activity, many children on the reservation are on their own. Even some elementary-aged kids can be seen walking around town by themselves. And there is very little in the way of fun activities to occupy their time. If they are really studious, they will attempt to do their homework, but their parents may not be available or able to help them if they are around, and they may not be around since alcohol-related deaths on the reservation are 17 times the national average. If they’re lucky, the kids may have a grandmother that can help, but with the life expectancy on the reservation at 45 years old, that possibility gets slimmer as the children grow older.
If that’s all that happens to them on any given day, they are among the small number of lucky ones. Unfortunately, a very large percentage of children on the reservation are abused every day both violently and sexually. What hope can children have if they are raised like that? Do they think about their future and what they want to be when they grow up? Most of them are busy thinking about how they are going to make it through the day. And when it all gets to be too much, they can take the way out that so many others have taken. Suicide.
There is hope! On my first visit to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in 2009, I met an incredible lady who, through God’s leadership, had moved there with her husband to found Windswept Academy.
I’ve been back to visit a few times since 2009, and each time I go back, I feel even more strongly the need for this school. I’ve tried to help them raise funds in as many ways as I can. Since most of the people on the reservation are poor, and the school is a private, non-profit institution, what they need most is money to pay for the teachers, food for breakfast and lunches, and the overhead. Even though the teachers are mostly missionaries, they only make $15,000 a year, the school still needs to bring in many donations to cover the costs of operation. I make this appeal to you. If any of you could help, it would be greatly appreciated. Think of the children. What if yours lived here? Wouldn’t you want someone to help?
You can find more information about the school on Facebook (just look up Windswept Academy) or on their website: www.windsweptacademy.org.