About 60 people gathered during a two-day summit in early June on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation to increase awareness about human trafficking and missing indigenous people. It also gave Rotarians an opportunity to interact with students to provide them with tools to become leaders to prevent sex trafficking from happening to them or in their communities.
The gathering was the first phase of our district’s newest global grant which is a collaborative effort between three districts, and two clubs with one mission.
The global grant effort started with Makiko Nakasone, 2023-2024 District Governor D5280 in Los Angeles, CA who three years ago approached our District Governor Rich Burns and Ashok Kumar of the Rotary Club of Rapid City about a project to raise awareness and provide education about human trafficking for school age children and community members living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Our international grant partner is Rotary District 2620 in Hammatsu-Harmony, Japan.
The $55,000 global grant is shared among our district, the LA district and the district in Japan. This is the first of 2 2-day summits for Pine Ridge youth (followed by 12 smaller capstone sessions over the next year ) and their parents or guardians.  The project is led by the Rapid City club with several  from Rushmore Rotary involved. The Summit had several breakout sessions to address overall awareness and health. Rushmore Rotarians led one of the breakout sessions several times to bring awareness to what is Human Trafficking to approximately 50 participants. Mikaela Leners was amazing in using her teaching skills to really get through to these youth on such a heavy topic. Thank you Jennifer Rollins, Tom Katus, Sandra White-Shield and Mikaela Leners for your hard work in bringing this grant to a reality.