"When we first got here we basically had nothing. Just the clothes on our back. We were just looking for a new life, a new start. We were homeless."
Kristine Haukaas, Head Start parent.
RAI was the first organization in the nation to convince the federal government to use a tribally controlled Head Start program to serve Urban Indian and we have continued this policy. Our Early Head Start and Head Start programs prioritize services for families moving from the reservation to Rapid City, usually in search of economic opportunity for themselves and their family.
Our Early Head Start and Head Start programs all use The Creative Curriculum and Teaching Strategies GOLD for guidance on the environments as well as for an observation and assessment system. All of our teachers complete weekly lesson plans for their classrooms and input weekly observations on each child.
The Ateyapi Youth Mentoring Program was developed and implemented by RAI in 1994, and serves approximately 1200 students in the Rapid City Area School District annually. Adult American Indian role models who are alcohol and drug-free, with a knowledge of their culture, serve as mentors, and together with their students strive for personal, group, family and community enhancement.
Our mentors are in all of the middle school and high schools and are also at Horace Mann, General Beadle, Knollwood, South Park, and Robbinsdale Elementary schools as well. During the day mentors serve as paraprofessionals helping in the schools they are assigned to and then after school teach whatever curriculum that particular Ateyapi program is using. Our elementary age youth are working on Lakota Language, we have two middle school programs, one that uses the Lakota Circles of Hope and one that uses AIM (Adult Identity Mentoring) and the high school students complete a curriculum to reduce the risk of HIV, STD's, and teen pregnancy.