2019 Fellows In Action/Elizabeth/

Chadron Instagram Takeover

July 10, 2019
The Charon fellows took over the Rural Futures Instagram story 06/25/2019! Watch as Beth, Vasu and Bhargav meet with the principle of Chadron middle school about how to communicate more effectively to parents, preform science experiments at Science Camp and …

The Charon fellows took over the Rural Futures Instagram story 06/25/2019! Watch as Beth, Vasu and Bhargav meet with the principle of Chadron middle school about how to communicate more effectively to parents, preform science experiments at Science Camp and visit Western Community Health Resources where they will be helping out with an immunization clinic by spreading information about mental health awareness!

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Fellows Week 6: Chadron

June 28, 2019
By Beth, Vasundhara, Bhargav Here in Chadron we have been full force with our projects. The Bean Broker has continued to be one of our go to places to work on our projects. We have thoroughly gone through the SHAPE …

By Beth, Vasundhara, Bhargav

Here in Chadron we have been full force with our projects. The Bean Broker has continued to be one of our go to places to work on our projects. We have thoroughly gone through the SHAPE Assessment to identify gaps, and now most of our time has been spent working on resource mapping to find the mental health providers available to Chadron and beginning to bridge partnerships between the providers and Chadron Public Schools. We have gotten to know more about the school system and how it operates by going to School Board Meetings and meeting various teachers through our helping out with different camps offered to elementary students. 

            Vasu, our third intern, has also moved in and has jumped right in offering suggestions and helping us to accomplish our goals! She has been a great teammate to have and has given ideas to help promote with tourism in the town. 

            Bhargav and Vasu have been helping with Science Camp at the intermediate school with 3rdand 4thgraders. They have planned an experiment with the students to electroplate a quarter. Beth has been working with the Art Camp at the primary school with kindergarten through 2ndgraders. All three of us plan on helping with Drama Camp, The Little Mermaid is the show, in the next coming weeks. 

            Our partnership with Western Community Health Resources led to us helping with their Respite Day at Fort Robinson this past Saturday. We worked in teams with a small group of kids to ensure that they had a great time. We went on horseback rides, swimming, and on a jeep adventure through the surrounding buttes.

            Some local artists have been working on sprucing up the downtown area by creating murals in the alleyway. There have been two different weekends dedicated to this. They incorporate children in the area by having children come and paint by number to help paint the murals. We were able to help out one afternoon, priming the area for the students the next day. 

            Some of our upcoming excursionsinclude us taking a trip to Scottsbluff to meeting with Region 1 Behavior Health, Panhandle Partnership, and ESU 13 to see their role in the Panhandle and how we can use what they do to bridge gaps here in Chadron. We are also going to be helping Fur Trade Days and Bands on Bordeaux, a weekly event where community members see bands preform downtown. In July, we will give a presentation to the Rotary about what we have been doing with our time in Chadron and how we can and need to end the stigma around mental health. Along with these projects, we are also helping with the Immunization Clinics at Western Community Health Resources by giving out information in regards to mental health and the help that is available in the area. 

            We look forward to our next month in Chadron and all of the upcoming events! 

We were able to visit a farm and milk a cow! The fresh cow milk was delicious and Wayne and Mary were lovely hosts! 
A beautiful picture of C-Hill and the entrance to Chadron State College.
Art Alley Before the children came to paint
 Final Mural for Art Alley
A beautiful view from the jeep ride up the buttes at Fort Robinson
Science Camp
Respite Days at Fort Robinson

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Fellows Week 2: Chadron

May 31, 2019
Written by Vasundhara Balraj, Bhargav Vemulapalli and Elizabeth Schott Chadron continues to defy our expectations every day. When we arrived last week, we did not know what to expect – we knew little about our assigned town other than the …

Written by Vasundhara Balraj, Bhargav Vemulapalli and Elizabeth Schott

Chadron continues to defy our expectations every day. When we arrived last week, we did not know what to expect – we knew little about our assigned town other than the Bean Broker coffeehouse and C-Hill. Despite the odds being stacked against Chadron, it’s amazing to see what this town has been able to accomplish.

   During our first week in Chadron, we visited all the local public schools – the elementary, intermediate, middle, and high school – in order to meet the people that we will be working with for the next several months. As soon as we arrived, we recognized this unique pride and love for the local community that we had never witnessed before. For example, despite Chadron Public Schools being classified as a Title 1 school district, the district consistently ranks among the best in the state. In fact, when we met Mr. Jerry Mack, the principle of Chadron High School, he couldn’t help but brag how his school district is only ranked behind the elite districts of Eastern Nebraska (e.g., Elkhorn). Furthermore, he demonstrated to us the unique didactic philosophy that makes Chadron Public Schools set such a high standard of excellence for the rest of the Nebraskan Panhandle – a philosophy which is predicated on providing the teachers with almost unlimited autonomy in their teaching methods, allowing them to use trial-and-error to find what is most suitable for their students. For example, he showed us two classrooms: one with the lights on maximum brightness and another with the lights dimmed. In the dimmed-light classroom, the students were dramatically quieter and were paying much better attention to their teacher, confirming the teacher’s prediction that dimmed-light conditions would promote a more productive learning environment for the students. In the future, we are really looking forward to working with the public-school district and we continue to be inspired by its underdog mentality every day.

   We also were introduced to the staff at Western Community Health Resources (WCHR), a public health office of Chadron Community Hospital. WCHR provides mental health and occupational services to the whole Nebraska panhandle and its personnel are constantly on the move across different communities. In our mission to improve the accessibility of community mental health resources for the public-school district, we will be working with WCHR a lot in the future and will continue to rely on them for advice on how to best tackle the gaps in mental health services that we will eventually identify in the public-school district.

   During our first week in Chadron, we established many of the connections that will help us with the main objective of our service – to identify gaps in the pre-K-12 mental/behavioral health services offered in the public-school district. During our second week, we are familiarizing ourselves with the SHAPE system, which will allow us to identify these gaps in mental/behavioral health services. In the next few weeks, we will be working with the school mental health providers to determine what specifically is contributing to the identified gaps in mental/behavioral health services and coming up with proposals for how to tackle these challenges using the evidence-based practices provided in the SHAPE system.


We attended an event at the Bean Broker where representatives from Net Radio (Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations). The radio stations usually just cover stories from Eastern Nebraska but have recently increased their efforts in covering stories from the Panhandle region. This will be a nice way to increase Chadron’s publicity across the state!

We were invited to attend the high school assembly where it was revealed to the students that one of their beloved history teachers was awarded with the state history teacher of the year award. Mr. Sandstrom is now in contention for the national history teacher of the award, which will be presented in a few months in Washington D.C.

We attended a meeting with Chadron’s transportation committee. The residents of Chadron and the students at Chadron State College encounter many problems when trying to get around the town and to/from the airport due to the lack of public transportation offerings. As a result, this task force has been assembled to address this issue and we look forward to working with them in the future!


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