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2005 Pine Ridge Trip
We wish to thank everyone whose generosity made the fundraiser a great success. The art and school supplies are helping aspiring young artists and scholars in need. The generous fans of Megatokyo donated $3854.00 to benefit the underprivileged kids on Pine Ridge. With our ability to buy in bulk we were able to send over $5500.00 worth of supplies to organizations on the reservation. Fred and I strived to be responsible stewards of your generous donations. I worried and fretted about what to get, how much to get, how much of what to get, what did they need, what would they want, what would be practical and useful, what would be fun and stimulating? Your donations purchased:
Scissors - safety scissors, pointed scissors
Tape - scotch,masking
Construction paper - glitter, marbled, colored
Crayons - Large, small, glitter, metallic, neon
Markers - thin and broad tip, metallic, neon, tropical, bucket 'o markers
Watercolor paint sets
Finger paint and paper pads
Sponge shapes - alphabet, numbers, concept shapes
Foam shapes - alphabet, numbers, concept shapes
Beads and lacing
Pom Poms and pipe cleaners
Scissors - safety scissors, pointed scissors, decorative
Glue - glue sticks, hot glue gun, glitter glue
Sidewalk chalk buckets
Brown lunch bags
We split the supplies among a youth program, 2 foster care group homes, and a domestic violence shelter. The majority of supplies we personally delivered to the youth program and the remainder we mailed to the other smaller charities.
We drove onto Pine Ridge Reservation on a gorgeous October day. It was a two hour drive from Rapid City. The landscape is barren and stark with just miles and miles of prairie grass. Burned out trailers homes dotted the landscape. Aside from widely spread out houses and a handful of towns there is practically nothing. It is so desolate that the northern half of the reservation was designated a bombing range during World War II and is now uninhabitable.
We headed for the Oyate Teca Owicakiya (“Helping Young People”) Youth Program facility in Kyle, South Dakota. The program provides parenting classes and early childhood development counseling, after school programs such as arts and crafts, reading, and sports clubs, teen pregnancy prevention programs, and other drug and alcohol-free recreational and social activites. The Pine Ridge Youth Program serves hundreds of children up to 18 years old all across the reservation. The program has five centers spread out over the reservation to serve the larger communities centers. The main building located in Kyle is centrally located on the reservation.
We pulled into Kyle which is barely a wide spot in the road. The term town would be an overstatement in describing it. The village consisted of a convenience store, practically the only source for food on the reservation, social service offices, a juvenile detention center, a few streets of housing which none of us would live in, a school, and the Youth Center. We pulled up to a run down building with graffiti on the walls. A halloween decoration of a skeleton hanging from the door made the scene a little surreal. The building from the outside looked much too small to accomdate the van full of supplies. When we entered the building it was bigger than it looked and very cheerful on the inside. The large main room was decorated for Halloween, there was children's art hung on the walls, game tables, and a makeshift lending library in the corner.
The director of the progam helped unload the van and showed us around the facility. She expained that some of the supplies would be distributed through a traditional giveaway. In Souix tradition when a loved one died the family would call together the community to distribute items that they had made or purchased to the neediest among them in honor of the deceased. The other supplies would be used in the center for projects and decorating. The youth program sponsers several reservation social gatherings for major holidays including Halloween, Fourth of July, Christmas, and a Thanksgiving party and giveaway for the Elders hosted by the childern. The children especially like hosting the parties.
We continued our tour of the reservation by driving into Wanblee about 30 miles away. Wanblee was larger but the main point of interest was a food distribution site. We weren't comfortable taking pictures in Kyle since it was so small but we did snap a few pictures of Wanblee.
Again, we thank you all for your generous contributions. I hope you feel good about what was accomplished and that you are all looking foward to the 2006 Pine Ridge Reservation Art and School Supply Fundraiser.
You can take a virtual tour of Pine Ridge Reservation at the Native American Heritage Association. NAHA is a Charity Navigator four star charity providing food, fuel, medical and clothing programs to Native American reservations in South Dakota.
If you know how to knit or crochet visit the Love Afghans for Pine Ridge Reservation. This group collects knitted and crocheted afghan squares and makes them into for full size afghans to send to Pine Ridge. You can also donate yarn you have left over from your projects.
Pine Ridge 2002 Statistics.This page contains the shocking 2002 statistics from Pine Ridge reservation.