Testimonials from Lakota families, St. Joseph’s donors and staff

Listening to others is how we continue to improve our programs, services, and organizational culture. Read on to hear what others have to say about St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Family Comments

*The following are all comments from family members of the children. Due to privacy we did not include their names.

I had a nice time here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. All of the families were very nice and were very encouraging to us as well. The staff were very nice and all of them made us feel at home. It was really nice to see the grandparents participate. I really liked the last day of school, when we all brought potluck, which was “great”.


My experience with the school program was happy. I was able to spend more weekends with my family, which we would not be able to do if they went to a school far away. It was also fun to meet and talk to new people. I am so happy my kids are able to go to school here.


I affirm that the ultimate value that I have is that God has given me the wisdom to gain knowledge through all of the programs at St. Joseph’s. I am thankful for this because in my broken-heartedness I can see my Lord shining through all of those who are afflicted and that they have hope for their children and their grandchildren.


My experience with the FAST program has brought a lot of my feelings out that I was afraid to express to anyone at home. I would recommend this program to anyone who has doubts about their children or grandchildren.


St. Joes is a great inspiration. The staff was very kind and the school had a very homeful feeling to me. A big thanks to all. The experience that I had with the houseparents was very helpful to me and my family in many ways. I thank the staff for the great meals that were served each week and the teachers who are able to give my daughter the education she would not get without attending school here.


My experience with St. Joseph’s Indian School is wonderful. The staff is out-going, caring, and putting themselves out. I enjoyed being able to trust the houseparents a whole bunch. Working with everyone gave me wisdom and courage.


My experience with the St. Joe’s Family — I really enjoy the time my family is able to spend here. I am thankful for having the opportunity to be a part of my daughter’s education and part of her program. I am glad we got to spend time together as a family. I am also glad she is able to meet other children who have experienced what she has and to get better acquainted with them. My daughters are able to share “real” feelings, which they never did before.

Donor Comments

Joy and Derril, Missouri

A brief note from Joy and I to wish you and the staff; plus the all-important children — God’s Blessings.

Joy and I most enjoyed our visit this past year to the campus and a brief visit with everyone. Also, would like to say we appreciated your taking the time to give us a tour of the lovely campus.

Thanks for all you and the staff do for the dear children we’ve come to love over the years.

Please tell the children we are just two of hundreds of people who pray for them.


Therese, Illinois

You are all doing a wonderful work in caring and providing education for the Native American children. It saddens me there is so many Native American families who still live in such poverty. I wish I was rich and could do more!


Lillian, Minnesota

Dear St. Joseph’s students and staff,

I enjoyed meeting you and your friendly staff very much. They made me feel right at home.

I thought the video and tour of the school were very informative. I had no idea the school and land were so large and had so many buildings and activities going on all the time; summer and winter. You all do a wonderful job for the Indian children and God will bless you for it. Keep up the good work.

Thank you very much for inviting me. I really enjoyed it!


Fran and Jim, California

To St. Joseph’s Indian School — staff and students,

Fran and I want to thank all of you for a lovely day. We enjoyed meeting all of you. We will both pray for your continued success, both as a school and for all the students’ futures. We will, for as long as we can, continue to make St. Joseph’s our number one charity.

Staff Comments

Scott, Counselor

I am proud to be a part of an organization with this type of family-feel to it. Everyone tries to support one another and you definitely feel that the kids and staff are part of your family.

I continue to work with the kids because of the relationships that I have developed over the years with the kids and their families. These are bonds that last well beyond the years that the kids are even here at St. Joe’s. You develop life-time relationships with students, their families, and with staff.


Kory, Executive Director of Development

Working at St. Joseph’s offers the unparalleled opportunity to make a positive, lasting contribution in the lives of Lakota children today and through our wise stewardship and investment of funds received, long into the future as well.


Brenda, Houseparent

I guess, on thinking about this question, I would have to say because I have been one of these children, and I also have lived through poverty and growing up on a reservation and have gone on to graduate from college with two degrees, and made a successful life, I wanted to pass on to the children that there are ways to rise above the issues they started out with. Surviving broken homes and dealing with alcoholism and looking to education and living life to the fullest is within their grasp, but it will take hard work and determination to make it become a reality.

Our Native people have always been a loving caring entity, but years of poverty and broken treaty promises have left many of us shattered. The family unit has been torn and the children are the ones to suffer; they need positive role models, people who can tell them, “I know what you’re going through because I have lived it.” And, I want them to know there are people out there who care about them and want them to succeed, and St. Joseph’s is one of those places where we can make that happen.

Through the kindness and generosity of our benefactors, we are able to extend help not only to the children but also to their parents and guardians. We have just recently established the Sacred Hoop Center, which was developed to offer help and support to our many families. Maybe by all working together we can help mend what has been broken and make the lives of these children richer and they will go on and spread the goodness to others; thereby, making our circle stronger for generations to come.

I would say this is my hope and dream, and if I reach only one child, my life will be richer for having more meaning.

Working at St. Joseph’s is more than a job, a title or a paycheck granted, we all need to pay our bills and live, but I am here for many different reasons, and I shall try my best to put them on paper. In order for me to answer this question, I will need to take you back in time, many moons ago, and 54 years to be precise. At that point in time, my cousin Judith was attending school here, and my family was here to pick her up and go downtown for a movie. While we were waiting for her to finish her daily charge, or chore, I had the opportunity to meet several of the nuns who were working here. Now, first you have to know I am not of the Roman Catholic religion, and these were the very first sisters I had ever encountered. I was quite taken with their long, black habits and the huge wooden crucifixes and the many keys jangling when they walked. I politely introduced myself and walked over to chat with them.

The campus back then was smaller and laid out differently; there was a small brook, and it had a quaint little swinging bridge. The nuns and I were standing in the shade as it was a very hot summer day. And, I can recall as if it were yesterday, even with all the long black clothing, and the train hanging off her head, this nun was not perspiring, and this was quite a shock since I had been running all over and had little beads of perspiration dotting my little nose. I could not wait to tell my grandmother these ladies wearing these long, black clothes don’t sweat! She laughed and shook her head; that is when I asked her when I could go to school here. She let me know I did not qualify for school here since I had a home and someone to raise me, that St. Joseph’s was for children who needed help in some way. I drew myself up to be as tall as possible and let her know, “Well, if I can’t go to school there, one day when I grow up I plan on working there.”

So you see, I am here to make my dream a reality; I feel this is where the Great Spirit/God want me to be.


John, Cultural/Alumni Advisor

Working at St. Joes allows me the opportunity to fulfill my vision of helping my people. I think Native Americans have an innate sense of giving something back that will benefit the next generation. The circle is an important symbol that conveys this cycle where what goes around eventually comes back around. Returning to St. Joseph’s as an administrator allows me to accomplish my personal goals, impact my people in a positive manner and provides spiritual enrichment at the same time.

Working with students allows for fulfillment of purpose in life. I don’t think of it as “work” or a vocation but rather a calling to take another step in the path that our creator has provided. In so many words, Sitting Bull once said, “take that which is good and make life good for the people.”


Maija, Child Services Support Staff

I knew that when I first began working here nearly 18 years ago that this was a very special place … that this would be more than just a job to go to from 9-5. To me, working here simply means that we are doing God’s work. We are helping plant the seeds for a productive, bright future for our children, and we are lucky and blessed to be a part of it.

I’ve been at St. Joe’s so long because of the smiles, laughter, tears, and joy that are a part of our daily lives here. Working with the children, watching them grow spiritually and physically, and knowing that my co-workers are supportive is also something you can’t find just anywhere. In a nutshell, this is a great place to work with many rewards!


Mark, Tipi Press Printing

I have the great pleasure of working for a Christian-derived organization. The organization’s main goal is to help less fortunate children. Just being a part of this mission gives me a huge sense of reward.

The other day I gave a tour through the print shop. The group was a class of St. Joseph’s third-graders. I believe it always reminds me why I am still here when the first two kids in line grabbed me by the hands, like I might get away. Those moments help to remind you that it is great to be able to help kids.