Our Philsophy Drives Our Work

At The Woape Foundation, not only do we serve the Native American community through our support programs, but we also open ourselves up to the possibility of growth and education through our service. We believe that our work is a dialectic, a dialogue, and we absorb this philosophy.

Our Foundation as a Greenhouse

Our programs follow one common theme. We believe that our foundation should serve as a greenhouse, providing support and a conducive environment to growth to the Native American youth we serve. But that growth, what they become, their passions, and the pace of their achievements, blossoming, and fruition are their own.

A Sustianable System

Just as Greenhouses provide a sustainable growth opportunity year round, their is minimal input from us after the structure to our programs has been established. The education, confidence, and experience gleaned by the youth we serve lasts a lifetime, and can be passed down for many generations.

Our Work

Integrative S.T.E.M. Program

The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are the future of the American economy. A recent article by CNNMoney relates the importance of S.T.E.M. in the future. S.T.E.M. jobs will:

  • Grow at twice the rate on non-S.T.E.M. jobs
  • S.T.E.M. workers earn 26% more in wages
  • Top 10 paying majors in 2013 were all S.T.E.M.
  • There is a S.T.E.M. deficiency in the United States
  • S.T.E.M. will be everywhere

In 2013 the Woape Foundation provided the raised beds, seeds and plants ($1,500) for a new geodesic dome that had been provided by the Toyota Foundation for the Jesuit schools serving the Lakota Sioux children on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This was just the beginning of an ambitious partnership and effort to use the greenhouse as a nexus for teaching the students at Red Cloud Elementary School, Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and Red Cloud High School a broad Health and Science curriculum.

To accomplish their broader goals Red Cloud has now hired a Greenhouse Coordinator who is working with a greenhouse faculty team to develop and maintain a curriculum for students across grade levels that combines growing food with environmental education and healthy habits.

More specifically, the schools are committed to using the Greenhouse as a tool for strengthening the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education across all grade levels so their students can compete with other students and succeed professionally in the vital STEM fields.

To assist these important efforts, the Woape Foundation has embarked on a new, expanded 3-year partnership with Red Cloud and Toyota USA Foundation and has committed to provide some of the equipment and materials needed to fully implement the STEM/ Geodesic Greenhouse Curriculum. Here are the specifics regarding what the Woape Foundation is providing to the partnership:

Year 1: $5,784
Live video feed camera system for the geodesic greenhouse for remote management and learning, IPad Controller, IPad, incubator, thermometer, barometer, pH test kit, water test kit, automatic watering system, aquaponics materials, water collection and irrigation system.

Years 2/ 3: $5,700/ $5,700
Aquaponics materials, classroom books and materials for Red Cloud Elementary School, Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and Red Cloud High School, all soil, seeds and plants.

PenPal Program

Our PenPal Program allows for peer based learning, not only in grammar, but also in relationships and exploration of other cultures. Our PenPal program pairs non-reservation schools with schools on the Rez. Students will be given a penpal in a similar grade, and all effort will be made to keep the penpals together for as long as they wish. Any school which is interested should fill out the application.

Children are more apt to appreciate other cultures, histories, and ways of life when they hear first hand from a child of similar age. They can empathize and relish the opportunity to share differences and similarities. Further, children on the reservation can practice their Lakota by teaching their non-reservation pen pals.

All donations to this program will cover administrative and postage costs.

Wayo Kapi Program

Wayo Kapi in Lakota means “The truth.” Our Wayo Kapi program seeks to bring the truth of the beauty of Native American culture as well as the truth of the hardships on reservations to the general public. There are two ways this is accomplished:

Greenhouse Program

Our greenhouse program is an effort to provide healthy food and education to Native American children. We partner with local entities on reservations to construct greenhouses which provide for a large amount of fresh produce to be grown year round in 1,300 square feet of space, while also providing an educational experience for the children and families on the Reservation.

The first goal is to allow for another, newer, medium for those on the Reservation to obtain healthier, organic produce, as the consumers continue to fight against obesity, diabetes, and general malnourishment.

The second goal of this project is to educate children attending reservation schools in healthy eating and sustainable agriculture while also serving as a new medium to explore the disciplines of mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics.

The third goal of this project is to allow for a protected area in which those on the reservation can grow threatened native plants and store the seeds of these plants in a seed bank, which can then be opened if the population of native plants ever needs to be replenished or bolstered.

The fourth goal of this project is to store seeds of the plants grown in the dome in a seed bank and distribute these seeds (tomato, cucumber, blackberry, etc…) to households on the reservation, which can then begin growing these organic plants.

The fifth goal of this project is to continue the movement towards sustainable, earth friendly, organic, and carbon neutral agriculture and construction.

One Greenhouse has already been built. Read about the first Greenhouse here.

Native Blogging Program

As part of our education and advocacy efforts, we are establishing a blogging program for Native American youth over the age of 13. This program will allow youth to share their experiences of growing up in America as Native American. Both those living on a reservation and those living off can relate these differing experiences.

Too often, many Americans perceptions of Native American life are dominated by false or misconceived narratives rooted in historical oppression, racism, or clouded by systematic biases. By allowing Native American youth to directly convey their experiences, we hope to break the bubbles of those inside and outside the community through dialogue and growth.

For Our Supporters

We hope this program will provide a direct link to our work and allow you to grow in your understanding of the indigenous communities of America and the unique challenges they face. Further, we hope to shift the narrative away from these challenges and focus on the many beautiful, historical, and creative aspects of Native American culture.

For the Youth

For indigenous youth, we hope this program provides an opportunity for you to creatively share your experiences, grow personally and in your educational practices, get those creative juices flowing (as many forms of media will be accepted), and allow you to define your narrative, reclaim your culture, and set the course of your life. If you're interested in participating, please fill out the application.

Interested in partnering with, participating in, or learning more about our programs? Want to explore the issues further?

Contact Us

Change The Name

We're part of the campaign to change the Washington Redskins Name.
Watch the video below to learn why Washington must CHANGE its name now!