Success Stories

Mikey's New Haircut

A photo of Mikey, smiling When asked how school was going, Mikey exclaimed, “I had a good day at school and the food was delicious!”

This school year started as many do for a kindergartener entering ‘the big school’. Mikey had just gotten a haircut. Let’s rephrase that, Mikey had just GIVEN himself a haircut! The motivation could have very well been for educational purposes because according to his mom, Suzanne, “he cut his hair because it was ‘in his way’.” Maybe Mikey was aware that an unobstructed view in and of his classroom and classmates would help enhance his learning experience. But that excuse doesn’t really explain why he cut his dads hair while he was sleeping!

A photo of Mikey with his AIEF backpack Mikey attended school on the eastern end of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Another rite of passage for a new kindergarten student is attending the first day of school with items that you need to feel prepared. The American Indian Education Fund School Supply service helps equip students like Mikey living in Indian Reservation communities throughout the Northern Plains and the Southwest. This service is only possible through AIEF’s dedicated Program Partners on the reservations, and the generous donations of individuals that support the educational goals of young students ultimately wanting to make a difference in their communities.

Mikey attended school on the eastern end of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux Nation, and his mother works for the school system. She understands the challenges faced by families, sharing that, “90% of families don’t have supplies and jobs are scarce in Allen and Wanblee,” which are more remote areas of the reservation away from large stores and resources.

A photo of Mikey using his pencil sharpener Mikey and Suzanne interacted over a pencil sharpener he received in his AIEF backpack full of school supplies.

Suzanne and her husband had been fostering children in their home for over 30 years and had adopted over the years, too. They’d had Mikey (now 5 years old) since he was a baby and Kato, an 11-year-old son, since he was just months old as well. The children brought the home a lot of joy and it showed as Mikey and Suzanne interacted over a pencil sharpener he received in his AIEF backpack full of school supplies. “He’s just full of life,” Suzanne said.

Mikey liked to color and was “a good artist and likes to cut out paper dolls,” Suzanne shared. With the AIEF pencils and paper, Mikey sprawled out on the living room floor and drew an animal with large ears. As he pulled the scissors out of the bag, Suzanne was less excited as she was reminded of how he used them for his and dads’ new hair style. She gently reminded him, “they are used to cut paper, not hair — not anyone’s hair.”

When asked how school was going, Mikey exclaimed, “I had a good day at school and the food was delicious!” Thanks to our many supporters and Program Partners, many Native children like Mikey will be able to enjoy their kindergarten year with the school supplies they need to experience “a good day and delicious food!”