Lakota was eager to take on the challenge of teaching kids in high-need communities, and was innovative in meeting the needs of her special education students. Her goal was to help students transition from school into contributing members of the community. By creating a student-run cafe within the school system, she taught them to cook basic meals, run a business, and practice social skills. Her commitment to expanding opportunities for Native communities continues today. As ED for Four Bands Community Fund, Lakota helps close the racial wealth gap for Native Americans by helping them create sustainable and successful small businesses.
Q & A
As a sociology major, the next logical step in my career was more school. But I was craving practical application; I wanted to do real work. I attended a TFA presentation and was impressed that they served Native communities. I knew it would be a challenge, but I was excited about that, and about making an impact back home.
I learned to take a big goal, break it down into smaller, measurable steps, and how to track progress toward outcomes. Teaching also taught me that no door is closed if you have the desire and are willing to work hard. I also learned that there is foundational work to be done with communities that impacts success in the classroom, which started me on my current career path.
I would be honest and say it isn’t for everyone. It’s not for the weak. But if you are dedicated to the cause of giving all kids access to a great education, and you are up for a challenge, then you should definitely do it. There is no way the experience won’t have a positive impact on you as a professional.