New local nonprofit takes aim at COVID

By 
Nacoma Jefferson
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Article Image Alt Text
Courtesy picture
Biiluukè Strong mentor Isabella Old Elk poses for one of many public service announcements the organization has produced to encourage mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing on the Crow Indian Reservation and throughout Big Horn County

Ember Singer started unofficially started Biiluukè Strong in September 2018, primarily as a mentoring organization similar to Big Brothers and Big Sister of America.

Now that Singer and her husband Lloyd Hogan III have Biiluukè Strong officially recognized as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization, they planned to use the Crow Clan system to pair kids with mentors from their clan, Singer said.

“Traditionally you don’t need a business license to mentor and make a difference in kids live,” Singer said.

In the midst of completing paperwork, the world turned upside down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Pre-COVID-19 we were doing outreach, spending time with the youth, giving away coats and boots,” Singer said. “We were reaching out not just to the kids in the program but to all the kids in need, but now that COVID -19 hit we are trying to do what we can for the community to help them get through it.”

The group has now taken on a public service campaign to encourage mask wearing, hand washing and social distancing on the Crow Indian Reservation and throughout Big Horn County. Public service announcements can be seen in business, on social media and in the Big Horn County News.

Biiluukè Strong has 32 regular mentors who 17 and older that usually are matched up with a younger participant and 28 peer mentors in junior high, high school and college. None of them can directly mentoring because of COVID, but are leading by good example through their PSA campaign.

“This way the mentors are able to reach the younger generation,” Singer said.

The organization has, are substance and alcohol free.

Singer said they have a lot of kids signed up, but they cannot be match with a mentor due to COVID, but while their primary function is on hold Singer said they are applying for grant funding.

“There are not too many activities like writing poetry, music, playing a musical instrument or things outside of sports on the reservation,” she said. “It is the kids that are not engaged in something that are at higher risk for going down the wrong path and living unfulfilled lives so we try to recruit these kids to match up with a mentor.”

Biiluuke Strong is trying to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs for the kids on and around the reservation.

“Crow or not, they’re all kids they still have needs that need to be met,” said Singer.

Biiluukè Strong is always recruiting, she said, and they do their best to reach out to the youth to let them know that they have the opportunity join at any time.

The Committee board consists of three members Hogan III, Bethany Fox and Darwin Spotted.

For more information visit the Biiluukè Strong Facebook page or Instagram or email them at BiiluukeStrong@gmail.com.

If you are a youth or young adult that is at risk of suicide and need someone to talk to please feel free to give Ember Singer a call at (406)-638-1505 and if you are a young man that don’t feel comfortable talking to a woman please give Lloyd Hogan III a call at (406)- 679-0087.

Category: