The Youth of Allen Give Back
We have previously shared the moving story of Allen's beginning high school students and their demonstration of wacantognaka (generosity) as they pitched in to clean and refurbish the town playground for those younger than them. Among the Oglala Lakota, wacantognaka is one of the four core values of their traditional culture. And it seems to be contagious.
After the work on the playground, young people in Allen (and a few adults) again pitched in when extra produce became available. The youth of Allen stepped up to facilitate the distribution to about seventy homes in Allen, using the school bus One Spirit obtained at an auction for the use of the Allen Youth Center.
And it is good that wacantognaka is its own reward, because the volunteers, after setting out in the school bus with corn, cantaloupe, zucchini, and cucumbers to distribute, found themselves sliding around on very muddy roads owing to recent heavy rains.
Eventually, the bus departed the roadway for a ditch, becoming mired in the mud.
Once again, the community spirit of the Allen young people found new expression as the volunteers and their adult companions grabbed shovels and dug the bus out.
They then cleared a path so the bus could be pulled back onto the road, and the deliveries resumed and were successfully completed.
This is another example of the strong sense of community that prevails on the Pine Ridge Reservation, from coming together for communal sharing of meals to finding oneself shoveling mud to free a school bus to countless other expressions of wacantognaka.
The accompanying photos memorialize this incident of hard work to provide healthy food to the oyate, and are hopefully an inspiration to you, our supporters. They depict real people, living under trying conditions of poverty, illness, and other challenges, who still stand proudly and care for one another.
This is the sort of small accomplishment that makes we of One Spirit rededicate ourselves to finding every way we can afford to help the Oglala Lakota help themselves, just as they did in this case.
Upcoming youth center activities
The project with the town playground continues.
The latest efforts are digging up small tree offshoots from wooded areas and planting them around the playground to begin getting trees in the community.
Some of the parents also came out and helped, making it a joint effort among the residents of Allen.
There is a great need for school clothes and the work on community projects has enabled some of the kids to earn money for new clothes. This Thursday the group is shopping for new shoes. As a reward for their hard work, they will be able to pick out their own pair.
Reducing the footprint
In partnership with Everybody Solar, solar panels will be installed on the roof of the Allen Youth Center.
This will help to conserve energy and reduce the carbon footprint.
Art program continues
Renowned artist Randall Blaze will continue his art program once a week from Labor Day until Christmas at the youth center. Randall, along with some community adults will mentor youth in pottery and painting.