Last week I had the opportunity to partake in a service project in Monument Valley with some of the alumni from the rehab center I went to, Ascend Recovery. I camped under the stars and worked during the day. The scenery was beautiful. Surrounded by nature’s beauty, there was also many living in poverty. It makes me sad that the children living there are not given the opportunities and basic needs that I grew up with. It was an extremely humbling experience.
The Ascend Recovery Mission Statement: Ascent Recovery Alumni Program will bring awareness to the reservation lifestyle by providing outreach opportunities. Also, we will assist students with meeting basic human needs; food, clothing, hygiene, and support.
We are currently working with an elementary school, Tse’Bii’Nidzisgai. TES is pre K through 6th grade. 90% of the students scored high on the ACES test, which determines the amount of trauma that occurs at home. 95% of their students are considered homeless (live with non-family members or in 3rd world conditions.) Kids come to school with shoes too big or little and wear the same clothes. Most of the kids have no plumbing so they take their showers at school.
On the most recent trip, our crew spent time working to build a Hogan. A Hogan is a Native American “female” home. It is a spiritual place and a place to find comfort and peace. Due to the harsh living condition, students at the school have a hard time regulating their emotions. Instead of putting them into detention, the school wanted a safe place to take the kids to regulate their emotions and talk about the tough things they are going through with the social worker. The students are familiar and feel safe in the Hogan.
The Hogan is what the school wants and needs so we are building it for them! The Hogan is made of Juniper trees. It is made of 300 logs. Each log needs to be stripped of its bark to the core. The Hogan is constructed without a single nail. The Hogan lasts for 100’s of years. The bark is used for a layer and then mud is used on the outer layer.
We have been collecting clothing donations and put on a car wash to raise money for the school. We will continue to have clothing drives all year and take trips down frequently. Leaving the reservation, I was filled with so much gratitude and my life is forever changed. By helping them, it helps me!
Enjoying some Navajo tacos!