Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to volunteer at a youth centre located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The non-profit youth centre serves children and families living on the reservation and is a grass-roots organisation run by members of the Lakota tribe and the surrounding communities. The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is home to around 15,000 residents and lies within two of the poorest counties in the United States. The unemployment rate is high, occasionally reaching over 75% in some areas, and the majority of families live at or below the poverty level (according to USA standards). As much as 50% of the population of the reservation is under the age of 18 years old, which means that youth and outreach programs have become vitally important to securing a viable future for the Lakota people
The youth centre is located in Eagle Butte. With a population of around 3000, it is the largest town on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the center of tribal government. The reservation is situated in the mid-west state of South Dakota, bordering North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. The reservation encompasses approximately 2.8 million acres of rolling prairie land. Volunteers are housed at the youth centre in dormitory-style accommodation.
Volunteers will work with children aged from 4 to 18 years old. During the school term the youth centre is open in the afternoons and during the summer holidays it is open all day. There is no typical day at the centre and activities will vary according to the time of the year and how many children are at the centre.
Activities include: Library time, arts and crafts, helping with homework, working in the organic garden, outdoor games, serving meals, fundraising drives within the community, helping with general upkeep of the centre. In addition, volunteers with particular skills, for example language or sporting skills, will be encouraged to implement their own programs with the children. Mornings will often involve some administration and maintenance duties.
As a volunteer in South Dakota you must:
- Be 18 or older
- Be a native speaker or fluent in English
- Have no health problems
- Be enthusiastic about working with children
- Have cultural sensitivity and respect
- Be prepared to abstain from drinking alcohol for the duration of your volunteer program
- Be able to produce a valid police record check
- Be eligible for a visa to enter the United States*
*Although there are no restrictions on the nationality of volunteers that wish to participate in this program, you need to be able to obtain your Entry Visa independent of the volunteer organisation.
If you are interested in joining this project and would like further information, please click here
To view other Global Volunteer Network projects, please visit their website http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/