Native American Project
Recently, Human Services Students have had the unique opportunity to receive field work experience on the Navajo Reservation outside Gallup, New Mexico. This experience has been an opportunity for students to not only provide much needed assistance on the reservation but to learn about a culture that is some ways may not be that different but in many ways strongly contrasts their experience here. This is an ongoing opprotunity and is offered when enough students show an interest in going.
The first year students helped to build a wheelchair ramp, a front porch, and painted the house for an Navajo elder. Roofed another home and fed the community and the homeless.
2011: We worked on the Rock Springs Chapter House, scraping and painting. We worked with the homessless and community. We also made progress on building relationships.
2012: We built more than a building. We built relationships. Students had the opportunity to work with the elderly, participate in a "clean-up" in Gallup, fed the homeless, and distributed food to the community. We also had to opportunity to fellowship with a Navajo leader and his family and listen to the "shortened version" of the Navajo creation story (the full verison takes about 7 days). These activities were indeed significant as it demonstrates the relationships that we have been building for the last few years.
May 2013: This year the group made a road trip. We were able to make an awesome stop at the Oklahama City Bombing Memorial. It was amazing at the impact this stop had on the group. When we arrived in Gallup we were able to schedule several projects but more importantly we were able to visit several elders. As I have told students it is one thing to build a building or ramp but what we are doing really is building relationships. A building can be blown away but relationships can be lasting.
May 2014: Another great year. We worked on a church and fed the homeless on this trip. We had a small group this year so we were not able to complete any big projects. We also worked with the Women's Shelter this year which was a great experience.
Every year I am amazed what not only the students bring back but what I bring back. My heart is always overflowing for the positive impact we have on the Dine' (First People/Navajo) and each other.
Stay tuned for more information.