More than 100 students and community members turned out for the Students for Students Barbecue for Lakota Kids Wednesday to benefit the Lakota Pine Ridge Children’s Enrichment Project Ltd., a nongovernmental organization started by Colgate sophomore Maggie Dunne.
Students for Students (S4S), a Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE) group, raised more than $2,000 from the barbecue and from t-shirt sales.
Senior and co-president of S4S Alexandra Maltz, said the group focuses on fundraising “to help underprivileged students and schools domestically and abroad.”
In addition to smaller fundraising efforts such as bake sales and t-shirt sales, Maltz said the group also puts on one major event during the year, and this year the funds will go toward the creation of a summer camp at the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota this summer.
“The camp will focus on community leadership and heritage for sixth and seventh grades Lakota students, in an effort to re-unite the children with their cultural background and create successful leaders,” Maltz said.
The graduation rate in the area is under 35 percent according to Maltz. It is this lack of opportunity that Dunne said led her to start the upcoming non-profit summer camp.
Dunne, along with sophomore Kelsey John and seniors Lauren Miller, Brenton Um and Will Cawthern, will run the camp and use the S4S funds to purchase the sporting equipment for the program.
The camp is a project of the National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP), Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, Wings of America, Billy Mills, Re-Member, Colgate University’s Project PEACE and Dunne’s organization, and will be modeled after NIYLP’s Project Venture, a program designed to celebrate heritage and promote education in young American Indian populations.
Sophomore Amy Beihl, a member of S4S who helped sell tickets for the event and designed the t-shirts that were sold to raise funds said while she is glad the group has both a domestic and international focus, supporting a cause stateside was a great opportunity for S4S.
“It reminds us that there are important issues and those less fortunate in our own backyards,” Beihl said. “Students for Students is a great way to make sure you are aware of events outside the ‘Colgate bubble’.”
Maltz and Dunne both said they were pleased with the turnout for the barbecue and, with more than 100 people in just the first hour, Maltz said there were more attendees than there was food.
“I hope that everyone took something away from this event that it was maybe a little bit more than just their hot dog or veggie burger,” Dunne said. “Pine Ridge might be located in the poorest region of the United States, but I see hope there every day and a rich culture that deserves the chance to endure.”