Non-profit, Everybody Solar, Raises Funds to Power the Youth Center
In traditional Lakota cosmology, Wi is one of the most powerful deities: the sun god. Wi is associated with bravery, endurance, courage and truth, among other attributes.
In a sense, we of One Spirit feel we are suddenly receiving a sort of smile of support from Wi that promises to benefit the Allen Youth Center and the entire Oglala Lakota. It comes in the form of an offer of help from another non-profit, Everybody Solar, which is dedicated to helping other non-profits get solar power installations to both save money and help save the environment.
Everybody Solar has been kind enough to include raising funds to bring solar power to the One Spirit Allen Youth Center, one of their ongoing programs. Successfully getting solar power for the youth center will free up needed funds to enhance the operations of the center, raise awareness about renewable energy among the Lakota, and help enable us to continue and broaden the operations of a vital safe place for Lakota youth to prosper.
Photo Credit: Gudrun Georges
As our supporters know, extreme poverty, hunger, alcoholism and inadequate housing devastate the Pine Ridge Reservation. Infant mortality is the highest in the nation, and teen suicide far exceeds the national average. The youth of Allen are dependent on the One Spirit Allen Youth Center for daily nutritional help, moral support, a safe place to stay if needed, cultural and educational support, and counseling to try and overcome the extreme challenges they face. The support offered by the center is unmatched on the reservation, and gives the young people a chance to enjoy some genial companionship, recreation, food, useful classes in such areas as music and astronomy, to say nothing of their cultural heritage while ensuring knowledge and respect for Lakota culture is always nurtured and encouraged. The youth center is also available for other community events, which given the distances and lack of transportation on the reservation is sorely needed.
At the One Spirit Allen Youth Center, Director Travis Thunder Bull and other volunteers are always there to support the young Lakota who depend on the center. They do this while living on a reservation that sees 97% of the people living below the federal poverty level, and the situation seems to be getting worse under the current regime in Washington. Thus, every penny we can save and use to extend the outreach the center provides is vital.
Toward that end, the generous offer from Everybody Solar to try and fund a 16.5 kW solar system is a great opportunity to further support and grow the One Spirit Allen Youth Center and serve more young Lakota. This will help all of the Lakota improve their lives and achieve the self-sufficiency they seek. This proud people needs and deserves the assistance that will help them grow on their own, without sacrificing their cultural heritage.
Photo Credit: Gudrun Georges
It is clear that assistance to achieve green energy for the One Spirit Allen Youth Center will not be forthcoming from governmental sources, especially at the moment, so the help of Everybody Solar is crucial. For more about Everybody Solar, visit www.everybodysolar.org: the Allen Youth Center Project is currently on the front page.
You, our supporters, may have gotten a bit weary reading letter after letter touting our plans to help the Lakota achieve self-sufficiency. Perhaps this potential windfall of solar energy for the Allen Youth Center might be an opportune moment to remind you that, together, we are making definite progress toward that vital goal.
This month, we were able to begin including food grown by farmers on the reservation in our monthly food distribution---healthy vegetables loaded with nutrition. These included tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, turnips, beets, and corn. Reservation grown food could not be a better example of self-sufficiency!
Toward the same goal, we are in the last phase of completing and opening the Charging Buffalo House, which will be the first USDA-compliant meat processing facility on the Pine Ridge Reservation. It will be capable of providing traditional protein nourishment, employment, and, potentially, products for sale off the reservation to earn badly needed revenue.
This has been a big month, filled with accomplishments made possible by you, our supporters: A HUGE AND HEARTFELT THANK YOU! By your ongoing support of One Spirit and our food, heating, sports, youth, and economic development programs, we are helping the Oglala Lakota achieve better health, well being, and self sufficiency for their people (Oyate).
Photo credit: Bamm Brewer
The infrastructure of the dream of self-sufficiency is being put into place. Please stay with us as we move forward to greater successes.
The proposed solar project for the Allen Youth Center truly makes it seem that the powerful help of Wi, the sun deity, is shining on our efforts and the Lakota Oyate as we continue to work tirelessly for a better life on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Led by Jeri Baker, all of us at One Spirit extend our humble gratitude to you.