Pine Ridge has a special place in my heart. Blair Lee introduced us to the opportunity available for a week of hard labor in exchange for learning more about the Reservation. She warned me it was life changing. I still was not prepared to have my life changed the way it was. We spent a week there with our children. We were joined by groups of people who were strangers for less than 24 hours, and then became friends. I know poor. I live and work in West Virginia. I have worked with families living in extreme poverty. The poverty is not what has changed me. It was the kindness and graciousness. I spent two days helping give out donations to families. I watched a grandmother become excited about a dirty stained pillow because it meant her grandchild no longer had to sleep on a hard floor. I watched children search through bins in excitement for an elusive hoodie, a favorite clothing item on the Reservation. It was a hot day, and one of the children asked me if I had any water. I asked the staff where the cups were, and they showed me a spigot that leads to clear delicious water. When I turned the water on, it spurted everywhere! While I was apologizing for the splashing mess in front of me, the sweet , homeless mom grabbed my hand and warmly said, “Don’t apologize, you are providing us with water, it is sacred, you are giving us life”. I will never forget the simple gratitude for a cup of water. My heart will never be the same.
One of the ways we prepared for our trip was by having a school supply drive. Many in the SEA Homeschool community participated by sending donations or providing money to cover the cost of donations. I cannot adequately express the excitement these children had for the schoolbags and school supplies they received! They were very serious about choosing the color of their school bags, and throughout the week I saw children on the Reservation wearing their backpacks with excitement and anticipation, showing off how ready they were for school. My daughter recognized firsthand how lucky she is to always have pencils and paper. Blair and I were so proud that SEA made this possible. It took volunteers a day and a half to pack the bags with all the donations made through SEA.
Blair and I both realized that this experience should not end; our children have so much more to learn and gain from the Oglala Lakota Nation. One of the ways I had Brynne (my daughter) continue to grow from this experience was by having her share it with others. Brynne spoke to many of our friends in the homeschool community, who were very willing to participate in our first project, a drive for underwear- something we easily take for granted but quite a few of the children on the Reservation only have one pair or sometimes none. It was not long before another family joined us in developing our next project; one that Blair and I are excited to share with our SEA community.
This holiday season SEA Homeschoolers is teaming up with Re-Member to help members of the Oglala Lakota Tribe who live on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. I hope you will consider joining Christina, Blair, and our families in giving to this community this holiday season. There are three different ways you can help.
Shoeboxes of Hope
HOW TO GIVE:
- Select an age group and gender from the “What to Give” list below.
- Shop for Holiday gift donations based on the suggestions in our “What to Give” list. Feel
free to include other things you think the children might enjoy!
- Clearly indicate on the outside of the box the age and gender the gift is intended for. This is
- Ship your box to: ReMember ℅ Yolanda Cordova 5 St Anne’s Rd, Pine Ridge, SD 57770
WHAT TO GIVE:
Ages 1-3| Male & Female
Suggested Items: toddler toys, wipes and diapers, stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books, baby lotion and baby soap, baby books, warm socks, hat, toys, toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Ages 4-6| Male & Female
Suggested Items: Hats and gloves,warm socks, books, Matchbox trucks and cars, baby dolls, crayons, coloring books, toy horses, other toys, toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Ages 7-9| Male & Female
Suggested Items: crayons and coloring book, puzzles, hats and gloves, warm socks, bubbles, baby dolls toys,books, clips for hair, matchbox trucks, cars and toys, lip balm,toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Ages 10-12| Male & Female
Suggested Items: gloves and hats, warm socks, books, board games, watches, toys, puzzles, books, hair accessories, jewelry,lip balm,toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Ages 13-18| Male & Female
Suggested Items: gloves, hats, watches, warm socks, adult coloring books, gel pens or markers, books, games, hair accessories,books, journals, jewelry, lip balm or gloss, toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.
Suggested Items: throw blanket, warm socks, hats, gloves, toiletries, hoodies (bigger sizes in high need), books, adult coloring books, gel pens, puzzle books.
Things not to include: Used items (only new, please!), toys that require batteries, scissors, glue, cologne, hairsprays, body sprays, toxic items, toy weapons, cowboys and Indians, no religious material, please be sensitive to Native American Culture.
Every year Re-member builds and donates hundreds of new bunk beds and mattresses to people on the Reservation. Many times this is the first bed this person has ever slept on. I have heard stories of kids sharing the only bathtub in the house to sleep in. Your generous donation of standard sized pillows,, twin sheets, and warm twin bedspreads, or blankets helps Re-member build more beds, because the organization does not have to buy bedding. The organization can spend the money on the raw materials to make more beds.
Gifts for Babies and New Mothers
While volunteering this year, I was lucky enough to meet Mary, the home health nurse. I learned from her that many babies and young expectant mothers do not have anything for the baby. If you or the your children knit or sew, store-bought is wonderful too, wouldn’t it be special to make something for the babies? Baby quilts and hats are such lovely things to receive. New mothers could use some love too. This year I plan on sending some warm soft robes and socks. If you want your gift to go the the new mothers and babies, send your gift to
Mary the Home Health Nurse
℅ Yolanda Cordova at Re-Member
5 St Anne’s Rd
Pine Ridge, SD 57770