Announcing the launch of a new monthly art competition for all youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Every month there will be a new theme. Open to all youth through age 18.
For the inaugural contest we are asking youth to create a poster design for the new Suicide Hotline which has been named THE LIFE LINE.
Kids are encouraged to use any medium they want it is all up to your imagination. We encourage all forms of creativity!
First Place Winners in each age category will receive a cash prize and art supplies. The Grand Prize Winner will win a $100 cash prize, art supplies will have the opportunity to work with a professional graphic designer to get their design print ready. Posters will be professionally printed and displayed throughout the reservation. All winners will have their artwork displayed on our new website
The Mitakupi Foundation is sponsoring two great events tonight in Pine Ridge and Batesland. New Years Eve safe programs for the youth! They are expecting up to 500 to attend. Please consider making an end of year donation to support our ongoing work to help combat teen suicide and empower the young people. Lots of great programs will be rolling out in 2016. Help us get off to a great start. Wopila!
As many of you know this has been a particularly rough year for the Lakota youth as the suicide epidemic on Pine Ridge has reached staggering proportions. 23 young people have taken their lives in the last 12 months. Suicide attempts have reached up to 150 per month and ideations are twice that. Those are just the ones we know about. The Mitakupi Foundation was created to address this epidemic and to create and support programs that empower Native Youth.
We funded and initiated a lot of successful programs but as the evidence shows – there is so much more to do! Here is what we are working on for the end of 2015 and beyond:
New Years Eve Community safe events – to set up all-night safehouses for the youth on New Year’s Eve to keep them safe, fed, and cared for.
Upgrading the phones for the suicide hotline that we started at the beginning of the year.
Launching a new and more aggressive campaign to get the hotline number out to the youth – this includes a reservation wide contest for the youth to design the new poster for the hotline which has been given the new name of “THE LIFELINE.”The winner will receive a cash award and will get the opportunity to work with a professional graphic designer to get their artwork print ready for the campaign.
Helping the Sweetgrass Project to keep operations running. The Sweetgrass Project is the suicide prevention and response team on the reservation and they lost their funding for this year. They have back up funding for a short period so we will be working diligently throughout the next several months to help them find new grant opportunities.
Bringing in Resident counselors for the community: At present time if a youth – or anyone else – is in crisis there is no direct way for them to get immediate counseling. We are partnering with Elizabeth Warson, Ph.D. and American Indian Art Therapy to create a resident rotation for Psycholgy Ph.D.s to offer counseling for tribal members on the reservation whenever needed.
We will be launching the Mitakupi Monthly Art Contest in February! Lakota youth will have a monthly opportunity to submit art work for recognition on our website and awards. We are in the planning stages for the 2016 Hoye Wayelo Summer Arts Intensives which will debut this July. We are supporting the local BEARS program (Be Excited About Reading) which runs reading and suicide educational programming for reservation youth and provides emergency services to kids in need. We are also starting to raise funds for the 2016 500 mile Sacred Hoop Run – which serves over 150 Lakota youth and is at the center of our feature film Running On A Wing And A Prayer.
On the production side we are finishing post production on a new music video we shot over the summer as part of our Arts Mentorship Program and are in post production on Running On A Wing And A Prayer – which will be used as an educational and fundraising tool for the foundation.
This year is shaping up to be great. Lots of new kids are getting involved in the boxing program – the majority are girls! Go winyans! The boxers are practicing hard to get ready for upcoming events. If you would like to sponsor the kids please visit our donation page on Paypal and specify Thunder Lake Boxing!
It has been a rough year for these young kids. There has just been another wave of suicides among the young people in Pine Ridge. Leaders are working tirelessly to round up as many kids as possible to keep them safe and give them an outlet to talk about what is going on. Our prayers go out to the young people who have taken their lives and to all the friends and families of these young people. We are sponsoring several emergency gatherings around the reservation this week. Please visit our Paypal page if you would like to help support.
Great news! We received our letter from the IRS today. The Mitakupi Foundation is now an official federally recognized tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit organization! That means all donations received since our filing date last November are tax deductible to the full extent of the law! Please join as we now increase our fundraising efforts to support the youth of Pine Ridge!
We have just returned from Pine Ridge and another successful Sacred Hoop Prayer Run. Sincere thanks to everyone who supported it!
Over 150 youth participated in 6 days of running, praying, camping and traditional teachings. We finished up filming for our feature documentary on the run and we will have more updates on that soon!
Tragically, the week of the run there were 3 more teen suicides reminding us of the urgent need for support and resources for the people on the front lines helping these kids around the clock. We met with leaders from the SweetGrass project – who are the first responders to suicides on the reservation. They also lead suicide prevention teachings for youth and man the Suicide Hotline that we set up last winter. We will be partnering with them on several new upcoming initiatives.
We are back out with the young people from all over Pine Ridge who will be running and praying for 5 days as they relay 500 miles around the Black Hills. We are supporting the run and shooting more footage for our upcoming film Running On A Wing And A Prayer. These kids are running and praying for the people – beautiful!