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Summer internship blog series: Lakota Children’s Enrichment team provides inspiration

By Contributing Writer on July 19, 2013
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LCE interns

(Left to right) Rodney Agnant ’14, Maggie Callan ’15, and Mimi Chelimsky ’14 stand in front of a traditional Lakota star quilt.

Colgate students, interning this summer at companies such as NBCUniversal, Hukkster, Nike, and Facebook, are sharing their experiences. This post is written by Rodney Agnant ’14, Maggie Callan ’15, and Mimi Chelimsky ’14, interns at Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc.

This summer, we are interning for Maggie Dunne ’13 on the Lakota Children’s Enrichment team in the greater New York area.

Lakota Children’s Enrichment, Inc. is a national nonprofit that empowers Lakota youth by providing opportunities for self-expression through literacy, sports, and art programs. The organization raises awareness of American Indian history and the obstacles facing Native American communities today.

According to the United Nations, the Oglala Lakota people in South Dakota are among the world’s most marginalized indigenous communities; many on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota are without amenities found even in developing countries.

As the inaugural set of interns, we develop ways to promote LCE initiatives: expanding our social media presence, branding, brainstorming, fundraising, and evaluating LCE’s impact.

We also investigate new outlets and foundations to help broaden LCE’s presence in the nonprofit sector. This has put us in touch with the Colgate alumni network, and we have found Colgate graduates eager to assist us and to provide invaluable advice.

Because LCE is a youth-run nonprofit helping empower other young people, our age gives us an important perspective and creates a meaningful connection with our audience at Pine Ridge. One of our biggest priorities is branding and making sure that LCE connects with the youth demographic.

We’ve learned and applied many skills used in scaling start-up companies, and we realize that a large part of our successful summer is due to our team dynamic. We regularly bounce ideas off of each other, gain constructive criticism, and collaborate on projects.

Upcoming events and projects include a nonprofit bootcamp, hosted by DoSomething! in New York City, and LCE’s Game Changers Youth Summit, which will be held on the Pine Ridge Reservation in August. The youth summit’s theme is to turn dreams into reality, and it will bring together youth and leaders from the Pine Ridge community to discuss issues important to teens on the reservation.

This summer has been a great experience. We have had lots of hands-on experience, and we appreciate the opportunity to contribute to LCE’s mission and to work on projects that help improve lives for children facing obstacles in America.

Rodney Agnant ’14 (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Maggie Callan ’15 (Greenwich, Conn.)
Mimi Chelimsky ’14 (Milwaukee, Wis.)

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