Several Clayton State University students recently participated in the Alternative Spring Break Volunteer Program. Christina Greenwood (Douglasville), Nneka Illonah (Lithonia), Venus Royster (Atlanta), Emmanuel Shepherd (College Park), Whitney Smith (Macon), and Michael Stensland (Locust Grove) traveled to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The group worked with RE-MEMBER, a non-profit organization that seeks to improve the quality of reservation life of the Oglala Lakota Nation through relationships, shared resources and volunteer services.
The students participated in various work projects across the reservation, including building bunk beds for children, installing “skirting” around mobile homes, outhouse construction and helping to build basic shelters. They were also immersed into the Oglala Lakota Nation and South Dakota culture with nightly discussions facilitated by the RE-MEMBER organization and trips to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Black Hills Forest.
Jennifer Welch, Clayton State AmeriCorps Coordinator, and Dr. David Messer, Department of Teacher Education, served as the staff and faculty advisors for this program. As Messer has coordinated six trips to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; he brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to the program.