By The Lakota Group | December 15, 2021
Join us in donating to the Sioux YMCA initiative, which provides leadership development at the Cheyenne River Reservation. Click the donate button below for the Sioux YMCA PayPal account.
Self-Discovery and Alignment:
As a company, the Lakota Group is and has always been committed to embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion and making it a key business priority.
The firm is working more intentionally with community-based partners to develop and sustain plans to ensure equity across communities and neighborhoods. Continuing our efforts, this past year during the global pandemic, we embarked on a journey to connect with the Lakota Nation to build and reinforce a genuine and meaningful relationship.
Senior Leadership reached out to Andrew Corley, CEO of the Sioux YMCA, the only YMCA on a Native American Reservation in the United States. The Sioux YMCA welcomed the firm’s leadership and stated their willingness to build a genuine relationship alongside the Sioux Nation. After some working meetings in early 2021 with the Sioux YMCA, a multi-step supportive approach was outlined and executed, which included:
- The Lakota Group donated much-needed PPE to the Sioux YMCA and the essential workers in the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
- Firm President and Founder, Scott Freres, visited the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in April 2021 to meet key YMCA and Sioux leadership.
- The Lakota Group committed to providing pro bono services to support the Sioux YMCA and the Lakota Nation.
- Scott Freres was nominated and accepted as a new Sioux YMCA Board of Trustees member in May of 2021.
- The Lakota Group will seek opportunities for ongoing volunteer and support to the Lakota Nation on an annual basis.
As part of an extensive three-day visit and tour of the 5,400 square mile Reservation, Scott Freres was able to meet with key members of the YMCA Board of Directors and tribal leaders to better understand critical needs facing the Lakota people which include:
- Insufficient affordable housing in the Reservation
- Lack of access to quality education
- Too few job opportunities
- Pervasiveness of substance dependency
- Scarcity of certified builders/trades in the Reservation
- Many unsafe abandoned buildings and structures
Target Initiatives for the Coming Year:
- Review Sioux YMCA Camp Marrowbone site plan to assist in master planning.
- Assist Sioux YMCA leadership address staff housing shortages and development of a planned tiny home cluster village.
- Attend a Spring 2022 visit to the Cheyenne River Reservation.
In 2022, the Lakota team will embark on two services trips, in connection with Sioux YMCA, to help build a strong community on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation. This will be an educational journey for us as we help with the construction of a cluster of tiny homes and immerse ourselves in a cultural exchange.