Support Life-Changing Work at AIOIC

Greetings, my relatives!

Each day I am reminded of the honor held within my work at the American Indian OIC and each day I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community.

It can become so easy to find one’s self ensnared in the negativity that seems to permeate our world – reinforced by social media and the 24-hour news cycle. Whether it be violent crime, our country’s income inequality, warring political factions, or antiquated systems that are now find themselves breaking down…it becomes a challenge to not feel insignificant, helpless, or hopeless in a world that has all the appearances of spinning out further into the darkness.

However, through our work at the American Indian OIC, and the myriad of success stories that continue to emerge from our high school, GED program, post-secondary school, and employment services department, I am reminded daily of the good found in the hearts of our people, and exemplified by the efforts of our incredible staff. This goodness is plentiful, self-perpetuating, and more powerful than anything found in the headlines. The success of our clients is the success of the organization as a whole, and through the continued achievement of such successes, we are provided with irrefutable evidence that hope remains strong, and the light of the world is born from the countenances of our people.

One student who inspired many of us at the American Indian OIC is a single mother from the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe named Breanne. Breanne struggled to get promoted and attain a higher wage because she didn’t have her high school diploma. After trying other traditional GED programs, Breanne enrolled in Takoda GED. In just 5 months, Breanne had passed the GED test and was able to get a promotion with higher pay and benefits. Now, Breanne is enrolled in Takoda Institute’s Patient Services Specialist program and will attain an accredited post-secondary certification.

I am incredibly proud of what the American Indian OIC repeatedly is able to accomplish. As you can imagine, for me, it is not hard to see how hope prevails and how it will continue to prevail so long as the American Indian OIC continues forward.

Today I invite you to become a part of the same energy that inspires our work by making a financial contribution to the American Indian OIC. The success of this agency is only possible because of generous people like you. With your contribution, we are able to provide over 1,300 individuals with education and employment programming each year. This work results in richer and more fulfilling lives for those who rely on us and strengthens our community as a whole. With your help, we can transform lives, enact change, and create hope. Please give.

Pilamaya yelo and Miigwetch!

 

Joe Hobot, Ed.D

President and CEO

Distance Learning at Takoda GED

Takoda GED provides distance learning to extend the teaching and tutoring that take place in our classroom.  “Distance learning” simply means leveraging technology to help students continue their formal education when they are not in the same physical location as their teachers.  This option is ideal for adults who must balance employment, family, transportation, and other responsibilities while continuing to make progress towards their educational goals.  Research has shown that students who can supplement in-person, classroom learning with distance learning typically make greater gains on standardized tests.

Another benefit to distance learning is that it provides a meaningful context for learning digital literacy skills.  It is common for students to enter our program with limited experience using computers.  When a teacher or volunteer introduces a student to a distance learning platform, that student will learn and immediately apply skills like using a mouse, opening an internet browser, typing a website URL, logging in to Google Drive, or troubleshooting an error message.  All of these “computer skills” are seamlessly integrated with learning traditional academic content like math, reading, or social studies.

At Takoda GED, our students use an online course management system called Edmentum, the Khan Academy website and app, Google Docs, and email to stay in touch with teachers and complete assignments.  Students have the flexibility to study and practice in the classroom, at a public library, from home, or in any location with internet access…even on a smartphone while riding the bus or waiting in line!  Distance learning opportunities are available for students at all levels, from basic literacy to preparation for college or postsecondary training.  To learn more about distance learning at Takoda GED, please email elizabethb@takoda.org.

 

Elizabeth Bennett, Takoda GED Teacher

From the 2016 Adult Basic Education Impact Report, http://literacyactionnetwork.org/resources

 

Outdoor Classroom Brings New Learning Opportunity

Each Summer, Takoda Prep holds summer school for its students to provide them with a safe place to come each day and continue their education beyond the 9-month school year. Summer school at Takoda Prep began on June 18th and culminated with a community event on July 27th to honor our students and their hard work for our school and our community.  The theme of this year’s summer school was “Reclamation: Reclaiming our Health, Culture, and Land.”

With the assistance of a generous grant from the National Urban Indian Family Center, we could provide students with Fitbits to monitor their health, including heartrate, daily steps, sleeping patterns, while also setting up daily goals. Students embraced their Indigenous culture by participating in a Sacred Sites Tour with Jim Rock.  Students learned about the history of the Mounds Historical Site in downtown Saint Paul, and participated in discussions about their cultural ancestry.

Reclaiming the land was the main theme of this year’s summer school which involved creating an “Outdoor Classroom.” This included planting a pollinator garden and painting a mural on the south side of the high school building. This area has been overrun with invasive species of plants, overgrown, and unkempt, while also being a gathering area for nefarious activity at night time.  Through the hard work of the student and staff, we transformed this area and reclaimed it for a purpose of healing, cultural identity, and participatory learning.

A special thanks to the University of Minnesota Master Gardener Extension Program and Lesley Perg for her hard-work in assisting us develop, and implement a beautiful garden.  A note of gratitude to Bratt Tree Company who generously donated a large amount of mulch to cover the entire south side of the lot.  And without Holly Henning and Charles Garcia, and their attention to detail, leading the students in the design, implementation, and painting of the mural, this project would not have been so rewarding for the students and community. Lastly, without the hard work of the students, this project would have never happened.  They worked incessantly to create this space, to reclaim the land, and provide this community with a location of culture identity and healing.

 

Tom Lonetti, Takoda Prep Instructor

American Indian OIC Unveils the New “Takoda” Redesign

Minneapolis, MN:  Today, after a long rebranding process, the American Indian OIC, debuts its new “Takoda” subdivision, which includes a new logo, branding, and website.

The Takoda brand, originally created for the organization’s accredited post-secondary school, was expanded to include the GED/Adult Basic Education program and employment services.  This was done to demonstrate how the organization’s programs work together to address the totality of needs expressed by the community served. The name “Takoda” means “all are welcome” in Dakota. The name was used as the focal point of the new subdivision because reflects AIOIC’s commitment to both the Native community and inclusivity of all people.

AIOIC President & CEO Dr. Joe Hobot commented on the redesign, saying “I am very proud of this recent redesign work as it encapsulates how the American Indian OIC remains deeply rooted as an American Indian organization committed to its base constituents, while also signifying that we will support all who are building themselves up through education and career placement through the use of our services. The new redesign will demonstrate all of the various assets and resources that the AIOIC currently possess within its wide array of programming, and how they have been deployed in a coordinated fashion on behalf of our clients. I believe our organization remains on the forefront of innovation within the workforce development arena through our adherence to a coordinated approach that braids all of our services together around the variety of needs of our people.”

The redesign process began in early 2017 in response to the needs of both the organization and the community to help people better understand what services are offered at the AIOIC, and how these programs can and do work in concert with one another on behalf of the client to achieve their goals. The redesign will not only integrate the various programs available at the AIOIC, but will also include a new logo, branding, and website. To see the redesign in action, visit takoda.org.

To learn more about the redesign, please contact Brigit Boler at brigitb@takoda-group.com, or at 612-341-3358 x125.