Raising standard of living, self-esteem of Native American children. Providing basic relief, food, water, shelter, emergency assistance- development to Indian Reservations. Teaching traditional life skills, healthy lifestyle, respect for Mother Earth.
Real LifeTen years ago, Pine Ridge Indian Reservation resident Emily Lakota used to have water available at her mobile home. "We had water, but then the motor gave up," says Emily.
Since then she had to walk hundreds of yards to her nearest neighbor with an empty 5-gallon container, and then carry it back home full, and heavy. "It gets tiresome going back and forth to get water," Emily said.
Then after years of using water from her neighbors, they told her, she could no longer access their hydrant even though it didn't cost them a cent to let her fill up her container. "I don't know why," said Emily. "They just started getting mad."
It all changed when a contractor hired by Running Strong for American Indian Youth® showed up at her home with a backhoe and a crew to dig a trench about 150 feet long to connect a pipe from the main service water line to a hydrant in her front yard. Within the next five hours her new outdoor hydrant and meter pit were installed, a tap was installed at the water service line, the water pipe was connected at both ends, and the trench was filled in and tamped down. Emily turned on the hydrant and the water rushed out filling her small water bottle in a matter of seconds.
Emily doesn't have running water inside her house - but she considers it a blessing to have to walk only a few feet out her front door for all the clean water she needs for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing.
Almost at a loss for words, Emily expressed her gratitude saying, "I am very thankful" with a big smile on her face as she took her first swig from a just-filled water bottle.