Meet Nancy Reffsin and Pam Thomas: founders of the Homeland Children’s Foundation of Congers, NY. They were selected by Dacotah Tipis as Supporters of the year for their generous contributions to Dacotah Tipis, and for their strong commitment to the organization’s future. (See their recent newsletter below.) For years Homeland Children’s Foundation has provided support for adoption agencies in China and Southeast Asia. Due to the growing need for housing on the Crow Creek Reservation, and the positive effects of a good home, they have decided to assist Dacotah Tipis. We at Dacotah Tipis are impressed with their continued kindness, and are delighted to have their support. Their help will make a huge difference to the children of Crow Creek, and their impact to the Dacotah Tipis program will be significant.
Note that the Homeland Childrens Foundation has already organized a Habitat Build on Crow Creek and is sponsoring a Target Gift Registry to help the Dacotah Tipis Volunteer Center.
Newsletter from Pamela Thomas, Homeland Childrens Foundation…
Many of you have asked how you can become more personally involved with our projects on the Sioux Reservation in Fort Thompson, South Dakota. As you may know, our activities are primarily done in cooperation with Dacotah Tipis, the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity. Jim Huntley, the director, has been working feverishly to complete a new volunteer center in Fort Thomson to house those who with to participate in projects on the reservation.
Jim has set aside a week, beginning August 15th, 2014, for those families who wish to visit and participate in helping out on the reservation. This is a particularly exciting time in Fort Thompson, because the annual Native American Pow Wow will be held right there from August 16-18th! Families will have the unique opportunity to witness real native American culture, dance, arts,crafts, and native life.
This would be a wonderful way for your children to learn something about the history of the area, which spans the banks of the Missouri River, part of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Dacotah Tipis could host you at the center, or at the local Catholic church. The accommodations are simple, bunk beds and shared bathroom facilities. Habitat asks for a donation of $200 per person per week to cover the cost of each person’s simple accommodations, building supplies, and running the center, but no one who wants to volunteer is turned away if they cannot pay. Parents must provide direct supervision for young children. Older children can participate in the builds, but need to be 18 or older to use power tools.
After the Pow Wow, participants would be expected to volunteer on a build for several days. Tasks might include hammering beds together, doing simple electrical work, framing a house, pouring cement, painting, gardening, cooking, or working with the local youth groups. Habitat will require that you sign a basic waiver. During downtime, there is fishing for walleye, swimming in the Missouri River, and sometimes, horseback riding. Life on the reservation will allow you to view firsthand the challenges faced by the people who live there, and you will be able to make a difference by volunteering some of your time, skills, and caring.
If you are thinking about joining us, you might like to know that there are quite wonderful attractions for your family to enjoy in South Dakota, despite how remote the reservation is. Little House on the Prairie fans can visit the Laura Ingalls Homestead, which features covered wagon rides and great information about prairie life. Mount Rushmore is to the west of the reservation, in the heart of the black Hills/Badlands area. Badlands National Park is like no other you have seen! The Corn Place in Mitchell is a classic stop along Highway 90, featuring huge mosaics made out of…corn! You might think of adding some days at the beginning or end of your stay on the reservation to take in some of the sights. South Dakota is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., big blue skies, endless prairies (where the bison still roam) and the Missouri River.
You would need to arrive in Fort Thompson on August 15th to begin. You need to be responsible for your own transportation. If you fly in to Sioux Falls, you will need to rent a car at the airport to drive the approximately 125 miles to Fort Thompson.
You can buy simple groceries at the convenience store in Fort Thompson, and fix meals in the volunteer center. There is a new green market that operates at least one day a week in the summer. There is a small cafe, a small casino which serves meals, and a very simple, clean motel, if you prefer not to stay in the volunteer center. Be aware that Buffalo County is the poorest county in the U.S., and it is remote. Supplies are limited.
To help get ready for volunteers, Homeland has set up a registry at Target.com so families can provide some of the items that will be needed at the center. Here is the link: http://www.target.com/wedd/registry/5cTC9m_eMDcnxy2jjHtERQ
I already purchased one of the coffee makers, but if you are planning to be there, I strongly suggest looking into the shower curtains!
I hope a number of you can join in. It may be a life changing experience for you and your family. If you can’t come to South Dakota, please consider donating through the Target registry, sending a check, or gathering children’s books for grades 1-12. Books do not need to be new. You can also provide a $200 sponsorship for someone to participate in the build.
You can send tax deductible donations to:
Homeland Children’s Foundation
121 New York Avenue
Congers, NY 10920
If you are interested in participating in the Habitat build and would like more information, send an email to: Pam