Success Stories

Bella's Backpack

Bella Bella is in a classroom of about 18 children.

Bella entered the second grade this year at an elementary school on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota.

Bella attended the first grade at the same school, so the transition to the second grade was made easier by the familiar faces that greeted her each day. Her mother, Leslie, had been driving Bella to school in the morning. Bella rode the bus home in the afternoon.

When we visited Bella and her mother in late summer, before school even started, they were not sure what school Bella would be enrolled in at the beginning of the year. They ended up remaining in the community and Bella was able to return to the same school. During our summer visit with Bella, we provided her and her younger sister with the tools they needed to start their school year off right: a backpack and school supplies.

After school started, we followed up with Leslie. She shared these back-to-school experiences with us:

"Bella attended her first day of class the first week in September. Her father purchased some new shoes for her — wedge style. Bella went to school in a blue dress, a blue shirt, and new wedge shoes picked out especially for her. She seemed a little overwhelmed when she came home after her first day, but returned the next day before the school celebrated the Labor Day holiday. Following the long weekend, Bella was in school for another two days, but became sick and would not be able to return until the following week after receiving a clean bill of health. The school has been sending homework for her to work on so she doesn’t fall behind. Leslie had to go pick up some additional work to keep her current.

Bella is in a classroom of about 18 children. She likes her teacher and is excited to make new friends. Leslie will continue taking her to school until she settles in a little better once she has returned to school. Leslie was pleased with the supplies and backpack she received. Once she received the list of items that were needed for Bella to have for her class, Leslie realized that she didn’t have to purchase any extra items from what was provided. She even had a little extra so that Bella could share with her cousins!"

Bella’s school is one of eight elementary schools under the school district serving the Rosebud Sioux tribal youth, with grades kindergarten through fifth grade, on the reservation. This particular district serves over 2100 students, grades K-12, and over 90% are eligible for free/reduced meals.

This backpack and supplies was even more special to Bella considering she had to catch up with her schoolwork at home. The support from generous donors makes it possible to help children like Bella have a successful start to their school year.

Bella and Cadence Bella and her cousing Eric and Joshua Eric and his colored pencils.

Our Mission: Serving immediate needs. Supporting long-term solutions.
Our Vision: Strong, self-sufficient Native American communities.

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