“Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.”
Ask members of Bright Start to describe their program and chances are you will hear this quote from the famous Lakota leader Sitting Bull. Bright Start, or Ohiyu lyojanjan in Lakota, is a partnership of the School of Public Health and the Lakota people of the Sioux Nation of the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. The two groups are working together on a school-based program to reduce obesity and diabetes in young children.
Bright Start builds on Pathways, the first large-scale, school-based obesity prevention program conducted in the United States. Pathways ran from 1993 to 2000 and included third to fifth graders from 41 schools and seven American Indian nations. True to its name, Pathways forged the strong ties between the Pine Ridge community and SPH that led to Bright Start, which focuses on 500 kindergarten and first-grade children in 14 Pine Ridge schools.