I was nervous coming into my month with Asniya as I had never worked as a teacher before and I had never spent any time on a reservation and wasn’t sure exactly what I was in for. I remember walking into Red Cloud and meeting my students on the first day of my rotation, and having this anxiety melt away as I immediately realized that it was going to be an exciting month. Each morning the students would excitedly pile out of their school buses into the classroom. They couldn’t wait to hear what the lesson plan was for the day and get their hands on the medical equipment I brought, or the animal organs that were dissected for each organ system. Many students already had their minds made up that they wanted to work in a wide range of healthcare careers. As a future anesthesiologist who hadn’t even really considered anesthesiology before medical school, I was pretty impressed to learn that we had an 8th grader who already firmly had his mind set on being an anesthesiologist.
In April, Asniya selected student leaders interested in medical science careers to participate in a job shadowing event at Rapid City Regional Hospital. Participating students came from multiple Reservation schools, and some of the students have attended multiple annual events with Asniya. The first event in 2016 was "Doctor for a Day," followed by "Nursing for a Day" in 2017. The 2018 event was "Emergency Medicine for a Day," where students were able to participate in several hands-on activities, including checking medical simulation dummies for pupil dilation, heart rate, and other vital signs, while learning about various career paths in emergency medicine and EMT careers.
On July 29, 2018, Team Asniya participated in the Cornhusker Triathlon in Lincoln, NE. The team, consisting of Tracy, Alex and Kasey, used the triathlon as an opportunity to raise funds and awareness for Asniya's Future American Indian Health Professionals (FAIHP) program. FAIHP is a new iniative that aims to inspire and educate students who are interested in pursuing careers in healthcare and the health sciences.
Team Asniya began this tradition in 2015, and has participated in the Wildlife Loop Triatlhlon in beautiful Custer State Park in South Dakota and Yankton's Best Triathlon at Lewis & Clark Lake in Yankton, SD. The Wildlife Loop Triathlon, with 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running, was the longest race so far. The team competes in the races as a relay team, with Tracy as the team's swimmer, Kasey as the cyclist, and Alex running the final leg of the race.
The team gathered pledges on the GoFundMe platform, and raised $1,150 for Asniya this year. Congratulations, Tracy, Alex, and Kasey, and thanks for your dedication and your support of Asniya!
April 2016, Jessica St. Laurent - Red Cloud Indian School / Our Lady of Lourdes
Hello, my name is Jess. I’m a graduating medical student from Tufts University School of Medicine. I’m writing from Rapid City as I finish the final preparations for a month of teaching on Pine Ridge. I will be working with 5th-8th grade students at both the Red Cloud Indian school (RCIS) and Our Lady of Lourdes (OLL) elementary school. I was looking for an opportunity to return to Pine Ridge and found the Asniya program through Tufts’ community service learning course. It’s been over ten years since my first visit to the reservation during college and I’m looking forward to seeing the changes.