This Sunday, October 14, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., the Scarsdale High School Pine Ridge Reservation Aid Club is teaming up with the Scarsdale Congregational Church (SCC) and the Lakota Pine Ridge Children’s Enrichment Project to sponsor a Car Wash and Benefit for the Lakota Children of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This awareness and fundraising event - - featuring music, a bake sale, a silent auction and raffle, and “good, clean fun” - - will take place, rain or shine, at the SCC, located at 1 Heathcote Road in Scarsdale. All proceeds will benefit the Lakota children of Pine Ridge.
Bring your car to be washed, enjoy the refreshments, listen to the songs of Scarsdale High School’s premier a cappella group, “For Good Measure,” and participate in the silent auction and raffle! Local merchants have generously donated items for the auction and raffle, and they are hoping to see the community come out to support the event.. While you wait for your car, volunteer your time to package items for the Lakota children. Bring a new pair of snow boots, running shoes or a snow jacket to send to a school on the reservation.
The high school club is coordinating the event with the SCC’s Youth Action Committee (YAC) and the Lakota Pine Ridge Children’s Enrichment Project, the successful non-profit organization started by Maggie Dunne, a 2009 graduate of SHS and a current senior at Colgate University. Ms. Dunne was inspired to create the project in 2007 after going on YAC’s first service trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation, organized by the Rev. Fran Wise Grenley, the SCC’s Senior Minister for Congregational Care and Outreach. Since then, Rev. Grenley and YAC members have continued volunteering with RE-MEMBER, a non-profit, non-religious organization that works with the Lakota Indian communities living on the reservation. Ms. Dunne’s project has provided over $100,000 in aid to children on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and her dedication to the Lakota children was recognized nationally in April 2012, when she was awarded the Grand Prize in Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women contest.
The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota covers more than 2.8 million acres in southwestern South Dakota, making it the second-largest reservation in the United States and larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. The reservation, home to approximately 28,000-35,000 people, is located in Shannon County, where its per-capita income of $6,286 makes it the second poorest county in the United States. Some startling and disturbing statistics about the reservation are: Unemployment rate: 80-90%. Lowest life expectancy in the United States, with an average life span of 48 for men and 53 for women. Percent of residents living below the federal poverty line: 49. Children living in poverty: 69%. Infant mortality: 3 times higher than the national average. Teen suicide rate: 4 times higher than the national average.
Last year the Scarsdale community sent 5,000 pounds of donations of mostly new items to the children of Pine Ridge Reservation, through the Lakota Pine Ridge Enrichment Project, and its Fall Supply Drive provided clothing, boots and warm outerwear to thousands of children and families.This year they are asking Scarsdale neighbors to donate new boots, running shoes, and snow jackets to help to keep hundreds of Lakota children warm this winter.
Contributor Katie Colella is a SHS senior, who volunteered at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 2011 and is president of the SHS Pine Ridge Reservation Aid Club.