For everyone who has been following my blog, you may remember that last spring I participated in the CCBC Alternative Spring Break to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. After my life-changing experience, I recapped my thoughts, and feelings about my week of service on the reservation in my blog. I poured out my heart and soul because I was truly affected by the people I met and what I witnessed in the Oglala Lakota community. I wanted to inform others about the Native American populace that seems to be continually forgotten. I was hoping that my story would motivate people to make a change. It seemed that people were extremely receptive in response to my emotional account, but the comments began to fade as time went on…..Until now….
I received an e-mail from a faculty member on the CCBC campus who wanted to discuss my blog. Her nephew had grown up on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and she had shared my blog with him. He lives in Arizona, and the blog was sent to him through the mail. He not only read my blog, but shared it with his friend who is also committed to the native culture. After reading my blog, they were both so thankful and inspired that they made ME a delicate hand beaded necklace. They not only spent hours making the necklace, but beaded the saying, ” Mitakuye Oyasin“, which means “WE ARE ALL RELATED” onto the beaded chain. Mitakuye Oyasin are the last words that I stated on my blog, and the lasting quote that was imprinted on my heart by the Oglala Lakota nation. The two men wanted to honor me with a present because of my hard work and dedication to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I was in awe of this beautiful gift and amazing generosity. I felt that I shouldn’t be thanked for serving a community that deserves our nations respect and kindness. However, this is a testament to the quality of individuals that are among the Oglala Lakota community. They may have an inadequate amount of resources to fulfill every need, but that does not stop them from loving and making others feel accepted.
The actual beaded necklace gift pictured below:
This incredible gift has made such a monumental difference in my life. I thought that after returning home, and sharing my stories that my week would cease to make a significant difference. Despite my thoughts, I was proved wrong by the unimaginable gift from two men who I’ve never met. They have no idea the influence they have had on my life by taking the time to show their gratitude. The necklace symbolizes much more than just a beautiful beaded craft.
The gift epitomizes the fact that you NEVER know how many people you will reach by sacrificing your time and showing people love….. ONE word, ONE touch, and ONE smile can change a person’s LIFE. The legacy you leave behind is bigger than you could EVER imagine.
The necklace exemplifies that community service not only makes a difference for the person you’re helping, but for their whole family and nation. Love can fill the cracks that are breaking, and strengthen the community at large.
My present proves that every single person has the power to make a change in the world. That one determined person can make a difference. No one should be swayed by negative opinions, because the this blog is evidence that making an large impact is possible.
The moments when you go outside of your comfort zone may prove to be the most remarkable moments of your life. The person who is receiving your service may be changed forever, but their stories will make an everlasting imprint on your heart.
The individuals that you have no contact with may be more inspired than the individuals that you meet. My two new friends in Arizona have motivated me to continue my dedication to service. They have given me a unique story that will inspire others to use their power for change. Who knew that two men thousand of miles away would revolutionize my own beliefs in myself? I never knew that I could create such a lasting impact and I’m truly overwhelmed.
Every person should realize their own capacity to inspire, love, serve, and innovate the WORLD. It’s unbelievable, but not impossible!
My first blog on my Alternative Spring Break to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation: http://blog.ccbcmd.edu/jlutz/2012/04/09/a-profound-spring-break/
And if you’re interested in helping the Oglala Lakota nation and learning more about the service programs offered on the reservation, please visit www.re-member.org