Zeno and Sophia Little were well-known throughout the community as providing a safe house for children who needed a roof over their heads - and that selfless service had caught the eye of AFSC, who wanted to give back to this remarkable family. Once we arrived with the necessary materials and labor, the family was right there working along side the volunteers to complete the project. Read my more about the work on Pine Ridge at the Friends Journal magazine. And, maybe you're up for a volunteer vacation-check out how you can do it.
All this week and next on Worldview, (where I used to be a producer) Jerome is sharing stories of volunteer vacations, something that has always been important to me and my family. Growing up, and into my college years, my family would travel together to work for projects and initiatives we wanted to support. Although I've traveled overseas on various trips, one of my most memorable ones was to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to work with the American Friends Service Committee building homes for the Oglala Lakota Nation. It was a powerful experience- the family of eight that would live in the newly-sided house had been living in an one-room structure without proper insulation, winter heating, and protection from the whipping winds of the Badlands - considering themselves lucky that they had a solid house with a good foundation, and not a shoddy mobile home like many. There just aren't the resources to build adequate housing across the reservation, regardless of need.