Teens volunteering at Indian reservation
June 28, 2012 12:46PM
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:09AM
ROMEOVILLE — Three Romeoville High School graduates will be among a group of 10 heading for the Re-Member Complex at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota this summer.
“We’re just going to help,” said history teacher Mike Moro, who will lead the group. “They have an extremely high rate of impoverished people. They also have high alcoholism and diabetes rates and their infant mortality rate is much higher compared to the rest of the country.”
Joining Moro, who has made the trip each summer for the past three years, will be class of 2012 members Catherine Ives-Louter and Amanda Evans as well as Melissa Nunez from the class of 2010.
Moro calls the venture “a powerful transformational opportunity. It really forces us to reflect on our values and the way we view the world.”
Moro’s delegation will serve the community in various capacities.
One year they built bunk beds for children. Another year they provided skirting for trailers and repaired drywall. At one point they helped rebuild a deck and ramp for a Native American woman in a wheelchair who suffered from diabetes. They will also participate in an authentic pow wow and learn how to create authentic Native American works of art.
“Part of it is serving the community and helping,” Moro said. “But you also get a really deep understanding of history from the Native American perspective. In school we take history classes and we see history thru one perspective. This forces people to look at things from the perspective of people who have been oppressed over the course of history.”
Moro calls his annual visit to South Dakota his time to refresh and prepare for a new school year.
“Helping people who are in need is such a powerful experience,” he said.