Palmetto Bay, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/07/2015 -- Palmer Trinity School (PTS) students just returned from volunteering on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation through Simply Smiles, a not-for-profit that helps provide a brighter future for impoverished families and their communities, on its summer service trip.
As volunteers, the students spent a week working with Simply Smiles at the Sam D. Horse Community Center in La Planta and nearby homes and project sites where the PTS students helped build two homes which included raising the walls off the foundation, laying flooring, painting, cutting and installing baseboard. They also built a wood fence around the ranch, flower boxes, sidewalks, and assisted on a greenhouse. In the afternoon the PTS students ran a children's camp for the Lakota children ages 4-15 and in the evenings they hosted town wide meals, movie nights, and bingo games with the aim of building relationships with the tribe's elders and children. This gave the students an opportunity to gain insight into the Lakota's history and positively influence their future.
Danny Reynolds, Associate Head of School for External Relations, and Dr. Manjula Salomon, Associate Head of School for Academic Affairs, accompanied eight PTS students this summer in what proved to be an enriching and unforgettable experience for them all.
"We have service learning programs all over the world, but this is PTS only domestic travel experience. We feel living, studying, and working on a Native American Reservation is intrinsic to the study of American history. The students were involved in a pre-trip curriculum that involved the study of the history of America's push westward, the genocide of the First People's, and the heroes of the Lakota Tribe in order to prepare our students for the experience," expressed Danny Reynolds.
"Building a relationship with the Lakota elders and the students was the most rewarding to me about this trip. We did a lot of work projects that will help the city of La Plant, but the experience I had on the Reservation was life changing and will be with me forever," stated junior Christopher Montoya-Redlich.
The 11th grader Lauren Evans said, "This experience put in perspective what we had learned in the classroom. It gave a face to American history. It also helped me to connect to the elders of the Lakota and understand what happened to them. I have a great appreciation for their courage and resilience. It also has made me an advocate for the Lakota. All of us are excited to return to the Reservation next summer."
About Palmer Trinity School
Palmer Trinity School—a coeducational, Episcopal day school—provides a rigorous college preparatory curriculum that integrates knowledge, compassion and social responsibility, an essential goal of the school's mission. Palmer Trinity School serves students from a broad range of socio-economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds in grades 6-12. For more information about the school, visit www.palmertrinity.org. To follow Palmer Trinity School on Facebook, click here.
About Simply Smiles
Simply Smiles is a not-for-profit organization that provides bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities. What makes Simply Smiles different may not be easy or concise to explain, but it has proven to be impactful, sustainable, scalable, and successful.
For more information about Simply Smiles, visit http://www.simplysmiles.org/