This the annual fundraising diary for the Pretty Bird Woman House, a women's shelter on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which the Daily Kos community has supported since 2007, when we came together and not only prevented the shelter from going under, but bought it an entire house. It was an incredible thing to see this community do. This is a good time to remember that, to remind ourselves of what we can accomplish when we unite instead of fight.
For those of you who aren't familiar with the history of our involvement with the shelter, I will direct you to a post that Andy T wrote on the Pretty Bird Woman House blog, which pretty much summed up our efforts then.
What we have been doing every year is conducting a holiday fundraiser for the shelter, which includes a general (tax deductible) fund for the shelter, and a separate one for gift cards for the staff (not deductible).
This year, for reasons I will tell you about in the update below, I'm just doing a ChipIn for the staff. General donations (the tax deductible kind) can still be made by check, but not on-line.
I apologize for the lateness of this appeal, but like a lot of folks I've had a hard time this year. But there is still time to donate. It takes only a few minutes to donate via ChipIn or write a check. This year you might also want to add a couple of kids to your Christmas list. More on that below.
This has been a big year for the shelter, in good and bad ways.
First the good. The tribe has given the shelter a $250,000 grant to start a sexual assault response team and develop education programs. The shelter then hired 2 new staff for this purpose. They work in the Tribal Council building in Ft. Yates. Can't get much better cooperation from the top than that! The grant signaled the tribe's recognition of the shelter as a permanent fixture on the reservation. If you contributed to the fund drive, you can therefore be confident that your one-time donation did some permanent good.
Second, the not-so-good. Georgia Little Shield, the shelter's director, resigned her position as of December 11 due to health issues that were becoming more and more difficult for her to manage with the kind of stress a women's shelter director endures. She is probably going to be on Social Security disability and Medicaid.
Right now, Jackie Brown Otter, whose sister is the shelter's namesake, is working as the interim director until they get a new one.
A few months before Georgia resigned, a key advocate resigned, and the staff member who did the bookkeeping is also leaving. In this case, the old bookkeeper, who also did advocacy and intake work, will return.
As a result of all of this turnover, as well as my new full-time job as an office supervisor at the Census, which came after a very tumultuous year for me personally, I haven't been in as much contact with the shelter as I had been in the past, and I haven't been aggressive about holiday fundraising either. I apologize folks. It has just been a tough year.
So, this year I have posted a ChipIn for the staff gift cards only. I took the other ChipIn down after I realized that not only did the new staff not know what a ChipIn was, but it was not properly set up for a new director.
BUT IT'S NOT TOO LATE! If you want to donate to the shelter's general fund, you can still send a check.
The address is:
Pretty Bird Woman House
P.O. Box 596
McLaughlin, SD 57642
You can also send clothing and other donations to that address using the USPS. To use other delivery services use this address:
211 First Ave W. McLaughlin, SD 57642.
I could use some of your input. Right now there is $540 in the ChipIn account. There are four shelter staff aside from Jackie, and two volunteers. That is six people. Plus Jackie that's seven. Plus Georgia, eight.
So, I was going to send 6 gift cards from the Daily Kos community. Then Georgia told me about her Christmas.
She's now regretting not waiting a couple of more weeks to resign because with her husband being unemployed, there is now no money for Christmas presents for the children she is fostering - two grandchildren and two step nieces, all girls except for the two year old, ranging in age from 2 to 17.
What I could do instead is send one gift card just to Georgia. She was an excellent public advocate for the shelter when its existence wasn't assured, and she deserves recognition for what she has done, in my opinion.
Or, individual members of this community do some last minute Christmas shopping for the kids, and I then I could send the gift cards to the current shelter staff. For that option, I asked Georgia what kinds of things the kids like. She sent me the following email:
Oh The 6 year old any thing tinker bell, the 9 year old any thing Hanna Montana, the 2 year old boy Cars or riding toys he has none. The 17 year old any make up such eye make up eye shadows (brown and Plum) and mascara black eye liner black. Really poor on make up she is.
The Tribe where i live lost there low energy money so those of us who did get that last year will not be getting help with propane, Man if its not one thing its another. I want to just scream.
As you can see, Christmas is not Georgia's only problem. If you'd like to do some last minute shopping for her kids you can send the gifts to:
Georgia Little Shield P.O. Box 292 Isabel SD 57633.
(the post box number means you have to use the USPS, so I would recommend the flat rate Priority Mail boxes given the late date).
So, for you donors, I would like to get your opinion on whom to send the gift cards to.
I will have the gift card ChipIn up until midnight on Monday and then get the gift cards after work and send them off Express Mail.