From Jan. 8 to 22, two senior-level nursing students from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, volunteered on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation as part of their immersion experience in a “Leadership in Nursing” course. Their hours were split between the Indian Health Services hospital and the nonprofit Cheyenne River Youth Project.

“Hannah Anderson and Sara Fisher are going to graduate in May,” said Dr. Karla Abbott, an assistant professor of nursing at Augustana and an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. “This cultural health immersion in nursing leadership will be very valuable as they go out into the world of nursing.”

While serving as volunteers at the youth project, Anderson and Fisher focused on activities that would have the greatest impact on the health and well being of the young people who participate in CRYP programs. They offered health education classes at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, which included Hands-On CPR, Stress Management, Risky Behaviors, Safety Behaviors and Serving Sizes; they also took vitals from teens participating in the Wellness Internship and Midnight Basketball.

“This was super helpful, as they also talked with the youth about their individual numbers,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Luckily, there were no alarming readings. They also had a sugar-cube game, in which the young people guessed how much sugar was in popular sodas, teas, Powerade-type drinks and coffee drinks.

“They showed the teens how much sugar was actually in all of those beverages,” she continued. “The kids were shocked. Some of them didn’t know the teaspoon equivalent of the grams of sugar until they played that game, which helped them understand how unhealthy those drinks really are.”

The nursing students also spent time getting to know the kids at The Main, CRYP’s youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds.

“The children loved having Hannah and Sara here, and they had fun with all the special activities and classes they provided,” Widow said. “We’re grateful for their service, their expertise—and their friendship.”

To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.