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Are you fascinated by native American culture? Do you want to learn more? Volunteers in our South Dakota program will work inside a reservation with children aged from 4 to 18 years old from . 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. Volunteers in this program should be aware that days are often long and strenuous - you may be required to work up to 12 hours and at time the work is physically demanding.
South Dakota is located in the Midwest of the United States. It is bordered, clockwise, by North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. Named after the Sioux American Indian Tribes, the Lakota and the Dakota, South Dakota encompasses nine Indian Reservations within its borders, of which Cheyenne River is the largest.
The landscape of South Dakota is largely defined by prairies with tall grass and gently rolling hills. Its most famous landmark is Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of the state.
The Cheyenne River Reservation is located in two of the five poorest counties in the U.S. Plagued by high unemployment rates (about 70%), the majority of households live at or below poverty level. The economy is largely tied to agriculture, mainly ranching and farming. While there are also several small commercial businesses (restaurant, hairdresser, convenience store, etc.), the two largest employers are the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Unlike many other Native American reservations in the U.S., Cheyenne River does not operate any casinos on their land, fearing a rise in alcohol and gambling addictions.
Housing on the Cheyenne River Reservation tends to be substandard and often accommodates extended families. While the national overcrowding rate in the U.S. is only 5.9%, overcrowding on the reservations can be as high as 27%.
Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged Lakota youth, focusing primarily children and families living on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation.
As a volunteer in South Dakota you can provide love, affection, education and support to youth of the Lakota tribe. You will help to improve education and skills ensuring that they learn and flourish. As a volunteer you can contribute to administration and fundraising to benefit the functioning youth centre. You will also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in a South Dakota community.
Volunteers are recommended to plan their sightseeing before or after their program dates.
South Dakota's most famous landmark is Mount Rushmore, with its' sculpture carved into the granite face featuring the heads of former United States presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.
If your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
You will receive a Program Guide which contains a wealth of information. You'll find everything from a broad overview of the country you are going to; project details; life on the project (accommodation, meals, what to wear etc); along with extremely helpful information and advice for preparing for your trip.
GVN provides four different options to pay your program package and secure your placement. These include:
* Placements longer than 8 weeks are available, please contact us or apply online for details.
* Based on an 8 week placement
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, departure from the program, airport departure tax.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $25 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, transportation and entertainment.
Apply now for the South Dakota Program:
Start Date: 1st Monday or 3rd Monday of every month
Length: 4 weeks to 24 weeks. Longer-term positions may be arranged on a case-by-case basis.
The centre also welcomes volunteer groups, which can volunteer for a minimum of two weeks. Groups would have to arrange their own transport from the airport to the centre.
Hours: Volunteers will be helping for about 8-10 hours on 6 days per week. However, we ask volunteers to remain flexible, as additional help may be needed for special events.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is located in the state of South Dakota in the United States of America. There are 9 Indian Reservations in South Dakota, of which Cheyenne River is the largest. The reservation was established by the Sioux Agreement Act of March 2, 1889, which divided the Great Sioux Reservation into five smaller reservations. Its boundaries include roughly 2.5 million acres of rolling prairie lands (about the size of Northern Ireland). The reservation has six representative districts and the district councils have an advisory role in tribal government. There are 17 communities outside of Eagle Butte, such as Cherry Creek, Red Scaffold, White Horse, Black Foot and Swift Bird.
The youth centre was founded in January 1988 in response to the community’s need for more services that support struggling children and their families. It was initially operated completely by volunteer staff and quickly became a vital element of the Cheyenne River Community. The organisation currently boasts two youth facilities, the Main Youth Centre for ages 4-12, and a teen centre. The youth centre is 4,560 sq. ft. facility provides an activity room, library, commercial grade kitchen, small computer lab, office space and volunteer quarters. The teen centre is a 26,000 sq. ft. Facility that includes an internet cafe, library, art studio, dance studio, full-seized gymnasium, commercial grade kitchen, a gift shop, office space, and volunteer quarters. In addition to the two facilities, the partner maintains a 2 ½ acre organic fruit and vegetable garden, and provides a Family Services program to the community.
Volunteers will be working full-time with the children and teens at the centre on a variety of activities such as mentoring, playing sports, arts and crafts, providing educational activities, working in the organic garden, serving meals and helping with homework. Volunteers will also help with the general maintenance and upkeep of the centre and will assist with office work. Volunteers with specific skills will be encouraged to implement their own programs with the children.
After you have joined the program, you will be sent the program guide with more details about the program and your Program Specialist will begin making arrangements for your placement. Once you’ve confirmed your placement, you’ll be put in touch with our partner organization.
Volunteers are housed at either the youth or the teen centre in dormitory-style accommodation. There are currently 2 volunteer quarters which house 8 people each.
Due to the varied schedule of the centre, daily hours will fluctuate according to time of year. However on average, volunteers work around 9-10 hours per day, 6 days a week. Volunteers will generally have Sunday off, however volunteers must remain flexible with their work hours and days off as special events and staff shortages can necessitate altered schedules and additional work.
Volunteers can travel during their days off. For extended travel volunteers may be able to arrange to take a few days off as long as the staff agree, and the request does not impede the function of the youth and teen centres.
On arrival volunteers have one day of orientation which includes: a discussion with the staff on the expectations of volunteers, the work schedule, and code of conduct; a tour of the centre’s facilities, a tour of the town and its major attractions. After this the new volunteer will shadow another volunteer for about a week before they are asked to take on more responsibility. On-going training in various areas like health, nutrition, and first-aid are also provided.
All accommodation is provided for in your in-country fee and weekly food allowance cheques of US$50 will be issued. You will also need to cater for travelling money and personal spending money for your time on the program.
[Those who secured their placement before 1st June 2013 will be issued with a weekly food allowance cheque of US$20.]
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. If you are a volunteer from the US your health insurance should cover you for injury or sickness, however you will need cover for volunteering and travel, so please check your policy. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
The Cheyenne River Reservation has a cold-temperate climate, with typically harsh winters and hot summers. Temperatures in the summer are usually between 80 and 95 degrees F (27 - 35 degrees C). In the winter the temperature can fall below 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C). Spring and fall are both quite mild with temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees F (10 and 21 degrees C). Cheyenne River receives very little rainfall and is usually quite sunny throughout the year.
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
United States law requires that any volunteer working with young and vulnerable people carry an original police check with them to the reserve, a copy of which will need to be sent to the GVN office before departure. Please note this is something which the volunteer will have to independently arrange, and can take some time to process depending on where you live.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project has a zero tolerance policy on alcohol consumption and illegal drug use. While volunteering you will be living in a very small community, with a high rate of alcoholism and in order to maintain the trust of the parents and community as a whole, all volunteers must commit to abstain from alcohol and drug consumption during their time there. This includes time off, weekends, and travelling.
Friday, July 19th, 2013
Noah and Craig working the garden My time with the kids in Eagle Butte have come to an end. I never thought 8 weeks could go by so fast! When your day starts at 7:00 AM and ends at 10:00 PM, time kind of sneaks by. I have so many memorable moments from this trip, [click here to read more]
Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Time flies when you are having fun, working hard and meeting great people. Since last I wrote I have met a great group of young people and teenagers from Chicago. They traveled in a van to contribute a week of their time to service. Then a group from Colorado Springs with donations of time and [click here to read more]
Sunday, June 02nd, 2013
Each morning I plan to journal and before know it the new day arrives, so I’ll cover the week! WOW we worked in the garden, painted the Main, took a weekend Trek and enjoyed Hot Springs! We cleaned the garden rows to prepare for planting; before planting a Lakota Elder performed the blessing ceremony. We [click here to read more]
Please visit journals.globalvolunteernetwork.org for more journals and feedback from past volunteers
As a volunteer in South Dakota you must:
*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 GVN.
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All GVN e-mails were responded in a very timely manner. Orientation was extremely informative. I felt very welcome by the staff and other volunteers.
"I recommend the GVN partner organisation in South Dakota without hesitation. The kids are neat. They are vibrant and fun. The staff are helpful and committed.The activities here are many and varied but ultimately all made enjoyable by the energy and appreciation the children show. [...]
My most valued souvenirs of South Dakota will be necklaces made for me by the children and the memories I have of sisters, aged 4 and 6, singing a song I wrote about their brother.I didn’t think I liked kids before I came but situations like that really turned my attitude around. I encourage you all to come out here and see what I mean."
Staff at GVN's partner organisation was absolutely wonderful! Very helpful, very friendly, very interested in what was going on with the volunteers. Just be flexible and open-minded; This was the best experience I've ever had and I think it can be that way for everyone if they have the right attitude!
All is great here. I'm doing a plethora of things: organising the warehouse, pushing kids on the swings, busking for the organisation, being treated like a jungle gym, cooking for large groups, supervising arts and crafts activities, cleaning, undergoing training in CPR and kitchen hygiene, playing basketball, working out how to throw a football… The bed is comfy, the staff are helpful and the other vols are cool. The kids are neat. I have two necklaces that they have made for me and they are all the souvenirs I will need.
The most challenging thing for me is seeing lovely kids with scars from abusive parents and seeing the houses that are smaller than cars and talking to kids, councillors and other locals about what goes down here. But I feel good about what I am doing and I know I am helping.
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over eight years experience and has placed 13,500+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteer's journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organisations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner's staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
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