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2020 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Re-Member

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Children & Youth, Education, Homeless & Housing, Human Services

Mission: Guided by the aspirations of the Oglala Lakota communities we serve, Re-Member seeks to improve the quality of Reservation life through relationships, shared resources, and volunteer services.

Results: 2020 was a year unlike any other in Re-Member’s history and challenged the organization to adjust to the new realities of the world around us. Just as our volunteer season was beginning in March, COVID-19 arrived. With tribal travel restrictions and lockdowns implemented, we quickly reimagined how Re-Member would respond without the 1,000+ volunteers we were looking forward to hosting. With generous support from afar, we have been able to continue meeting the varied and complex needs of the Pine Ridge community. Although the number of jobs completed this year was lower, the fact that we were able to safely provide services is a testament to the commitment of our staff and the generosity of our supporters. As we look ahead to 2021, we are hopeful that conditions will allow us to return to normal operations. The safety of our volunteers, and the peace of mind and good health of Pine Ridge residents remains our top priority as we plan for the future.

Target demographics: Oglala Lakota Oyate (Nation) living on the Reservation.

Geographic areas served: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Programs: Re-Member is a non-profit outreach that has coexisted with the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Re-Member works through a small group of staff and more than 1,100 volunteers each year. We spend time on historical and cultural immersion, sharing meals, celebrating alongside Lakota at local powwows, and working to improve living conditions of the tribal members.

Community Stories

67 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

My wife & I have served as volunteers for several years. I chose to become a Board member about 4 years ago. I have fallen in love with the Lakota people and the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Re-Member is greatly respected by the people and they are so appreciative of the services provided by this non-denominational, non-profit organization. Also, as Volunteers, there are so many opportunities to learn about the Lakota traditions, spirituality, and courage. I highly recommend Re-Member as a great way to serve and become engaged with our indigenous
people.

Kathy Clarke M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year I had the opportunity to spend a week at the Res, building and delivering bunk beds to families that have never slept in a bed, building a ramp for a lovely woman who had no way to get in and out of her home. This is the most amazing experience of had the good fortune to be involved with! Re-Member is such a loving, caring place that works so hard to help the Lakota Sioux tribe. It's truly a privilege to be involved with such a caring organization!

Board Member

Rating: 5

My family and I have been friends of Re-Member since 2013, when our now-high school senior sought out a nonprofit at which our family could volunteer. We have returned every year since (other than this year due to COVID-19) to volunteer for a week. Re-Member serves the wonderful Oglala Lakota people of Pine Ridge. We have made many friends on the Reservation and at Re-Member. We make bunk beds and outhouses, skirt trailers for winter warmth, make wheelchair ramps, help with Re-Member’s innovative gardening project at its Feather 2 facility, and other projects. Because my family and I feel so strongly about Re-Member and its mission, I joined Re-Member’s Board of Directors several years ago. During COVID, Re-Member’s talented and devoted staff continues to serve the Reservation, and Re-Member’s dedicated donors have continued to show their support. I’m proud of Re-Member and very much hope that, like our family, those looking for a nonprofit to support with their time, talents, and/or money will consider Re-Member too. And, if you have younger children, there is an excellent children’s program too!

Paula S.7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first volunteered with Re-Member in 2005. It was one of the most memorable experiences in my life for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the quality of their program, the passion of the staff, and how seamlessly everything was run. I knew back then that somehow I would become more involved and that this would become my life's work. In 2010 I took over the position as Volunteer Trip Coordinator. In 2012 I was blessed to have the opportunity to move west from my home state of Michigan. I was able to find a place to live in close proximity to Pine Ridge and spend significant time on "the Rez" every week. From June of 2012 to May of 2020 when I moved back to Michigan, I was involved with our program as well as in the community on Pine Ridge. In that time I learned more than I ever thought possible (and became a better person for it), through the relationships built with my Lakota friends and family who adopted me.

Over the years I have seen many organizations come and go on Pine Ridge. Re-Member has remained because we have worked hard to meet the Lakota where they are at, rather than where the dominant culture in our country expects them to be. We know our "place" in the community and respect it. Over the past 22 years we have worked humbly and tirelessly to build that trust, that relationship with our Lakota neighbors and family and become accepted as neighbors, not outsiders. The work I do with Re-Member will be the mark I leave on the world....my legacy....and I am proud, honored, and grateful to be able to do so. I've had a lot of jobs in my life, but none as rewarding and gratifying as working for Re-Member. I plan on staying in my position until I'm ready to retire; and I hope that anyone reading this will consider coming to volunteer, and share in the Re-Member experience too. Pilamayaye (thank you).

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Not only do you feel great about helping while you are there, but you also LEARN so much about the Oglala Lakota people. I have volunteered three years now, and each time is such a different experience. I have changed mentally and emotionally by being part of Re-Member! Such an amazing organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer since 2002 and immediately realized how special and unique an opportunity that Re-Member provided. The cultural education has provided new insights into history, treatment of indigenous people and has taught me new meanings into listening and learning from Native Americans. This relationship process has been key to my involvement with Re-Member and led me to become a board member for 10 years.

The work that we do, the need for bunk beds, outhouses, skirting trailers, building wheelchair ramps and travels around the rez have all led to an increased understanding of the needs and issues facing Native people. With the recent addition of a gardening project that has strong support from people on the reservation continues to build on those relationships.

Thank you to Re-Member for the continued communication on how the whole process has continued through these Covid times. I look forward to being involved for many years to come and hope more people come to gain these experiences.

Katie Beth M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re-member will leave a mark on your heart! Not only are they an excellent resource in the community, but they are educating thousands of volunteers every year.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to Re-Member interested in the Lakota culture. I left fascinated. Re-Member has bridged historic mistrust by walking beside families...and by simply serving. As one of the poorest counties in the United States, Lakota County has tremendous basic needs. While at Re-Member, I have helped to dig a 6' hole for an outhouse at a home with no electricity, no pumbing, and lots of enthusiastic children. I helped to build a bunkbed that went into a basement where 4 little ones were previously sleeping on a cracked cement floor. (All 4 children were planning on sleeping in the two twin beds.) The next time I volunteered, I helped to put insulated skirting on a ramshackle house trailer. The two elderly women who lived there might actually be able to heat their home and maybe their plumbing would not freeze during the winter. We also helped to build a handicap ramp on a different trailer. The veteran who lived there had not been able to get out of his house for many years. He couldn't believe that now he was "free." In gratitude, he gave us a sweetgrass blessing and gently answered our questions about the ceremony. I am also very excited that Re-Member is starting to develop Feather II for growing fresh food for schools. Re-Member and South Dakota State University are partnering to help children understand how to grow fresh food and enjoy eating in a healthy manner. It is great to be part of Re-Member!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

My experience with Re-Member opened up my eyes to a culture which is being forgotten. The people involved with Re-Member are hardworking, caring individuals who are really helping make a difference in the lives of the people living on the Pine Ridge Reservation. My visit there not only involved building ramps, digging outhouses and making beds for needy families who are grateful beyond words...but I also learned so much about the history and lifestyle of the Indians. That is what I love so much about this volunteer organization... they do such great physical work as well as teach the groups that come to volunteer. A great life changing experience! Good luck to them on their future goals!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I absolutely feel that my experience working with Re-Member has been something that has changed me.
I first visited in 2012, on a special project working with Red Cloud renewable energy. We built a prototype for an energy efficient home made of hay bales and mud.
During this time, I lived at the Re-Member site and participated in all of the cultural and educational programs that were provided. I became acutely aware of the long hard road native Americans have endured, and saw first hand the bad result of policies and actions, some for economic gain, others misguided ‘helping’.
It was a time to learn and listen, and was the start of my continued relationship with Re-Member and with the Lakota people.

Since, I have returned 3 times, working on various projects and expanding my understanding of the area and the people. I’ve brought many family members, young and old(er) to join me, all have come away with gratitude for the experience, though it is difficult.

Re-Member does a fantastic job of providing an educational experience to so many. They are careful to be a part of the community and a partner instead of another group coming from outside to try to ‘correct’ things. The need for help is great, there are long waiting lists for the services Re-Member volunteers provide.

I am an advocate for the rights of our Native American brothers and sisters and have since my experiences at Re-Member, continued to educate myself and others in order to support those rights.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Between us, my husband and I have 3 visits to Re-Member, on solo adult trips, as youth group leaders, and with the college students we've taught. The RE-Member experience is so powerful because it gently, but firmly, forces participants to examine the ongoing impact of colonization on people who could not be more gracious and kind - the Oglala Lakota. From the Lakota elders who give talks in the evenings, to the craftspeople who showcase their arts, to the Lakota staff who prepare meals and patiently teach carpentry skills, every experience highlights a culture built on respect for the earth, its people, and human relationships.

As a trip leader, I am also incredibly impressed by the professionalism and commitment demonstrated by Re-Member staff, even during a pandemic that uprooted all of our plans and finances. Re-Member promptly refunded my students' payments when our trip was cancelled, helped me plan for 2021, including making some minor pandemic-related accommodations and communicated clearly and effectively every step of the way. I feel very confident that Re-Member has the best interests of the Oglala Lakota people, as well as those who visit the program, in mind with every decision they make.
Deirdre Lanesskog, California State University, San Bernardino

Board Member

Rating: 5

A week on Pine Ridge with Re-Member will change your life. This organization serves the Lakota people through life saving building projects, firewood delivery, and providing food and nutrition education. Just as importantly, if a guest can just be quiet and listen, they'll learn about a beautiful culture that has suffered many injustices over many years yet persists with great dignity. Once I visited Re-Member, going back was not optional. After returning for my second visit, I was called to join the Board of Directors to help Re-Member expand their services and plan for a future where Re-Member will partner with the Lakota Nation towards achieving positive change on Pine Ridge.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Re-Member does the right things for the right reasons. The organization’s focus on building and rebuilding relationships are a testament to its longevity on the Reservation and a lesson that everyone can carry throughout their lives. Truly life changing!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I visited Re-Member this year for the first time with my wife. I felt it was a very positive experience and I came away knowing more about the Lakota that I ever thought I would. It felt good to be helping others and the RE-Member staff were welcoming, patient and made sure everyone got plenty of time doing hands-on work, regardless of their skill level. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone! - Tim Koithan, NY

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Re-Member in 2018 and 2019 (and hope to return!) This organization is doing incredible work on the Pine Ridge Reservation .The work projects they undertake are widely varied in nature (agricultural, home repairs, building bunk beds and outhouses , cutting/delivering firewood and installing wheelchair ramps and trailer skirting). But more importantly, Re-Member is building RELATIONSHIPS with those who reside on the reservation. Their program also helps us "outsiders" learn about the Oglala Lakota and their history. Donations to Re-Member are used judiciously to maximize the positive impact of each and every dollar. Volunteers are immersed in Lakota culture, get to build relationships with the folks they meet on the work sites, and leave Re-Member better individuals than when they arrived. My time spent at Re-Member far exceeded any expectation I had before going into it!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been volunteering with Re-Member since 2011 and I go back whenever my schedule allows. I’ve gone to Re-Member with a big group, with a friend, and alone, and each time was a worthwhile and incredible experience. The first time I volunteered here, I was 16 and had never heard of the Pine Ridge Reservation, so I love that Re-Member takes the time to educate volunteers with tours and cultural speakers.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our school first connected with RE Member nearly 10 years ago and continue to bring a group of 7th and 8th grade students every other year to Pine Ridge for a week of community service and cultural identity education. This past spring was my first trip with Re Member and I was blown away by the experience. Despite being there in early May we worked through three days of sloppy snow and mud. The Re Member staff had a positive attitude and kept the students moving and grooving through it all. I loved the combination of service, community tours, and nightly speakers. All three of these combined created an immersive experience that brought the challenges and beauty of the Oglala Lakota Sioux community to life for my students.

1 Brenda Dello Russo P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We bring our 7th grade students every year for this AMAZING service trip. We are blessed to be taken in by this beautiful community and culture for the week. The folks we worked with at Re-Member are inspiring individuals who provided a life-changing experience for our students and teachers. I can't recommend this organization any higher -- I think every person needs to volunteer here. Chances are it won't be your only time giving to this community. You will want to go to Re-Member again and again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I attended a service learning week in September 2018. They are very well received by the Oglala Lakota community which spoke volumes to me.

Half of our volunteer time was spent providing direct services - installing outhouses, wheelchair ramps, and weather skirting for trailer homes. The other half of the time we attended educational presentations by members of the Lakota community and visited historic sites with cultural/historic interpretation. It's a rare and precious opportunity to hear history told from the Oglala perspective by someone from their own community. It was a very moving week to say the least.

At all times Re-Member staff and coordinating volunteers were conscious of the values of humility and respect and conveyed these to volunteers.

Opportunities were orchestrated for volunteers to visit with residents of the reservation. We attended a powwow and were invited by the tribal leader to join them in dance.

Re-Member is also developing community gardens with Pine Ridge in partnership with the state agricultural extension to address the "food desert". The reservation is geographically isolated such that availability of healthy produce is much needed. The gardens include culturally important food crops and the site they are building there will be used by the Oglala to celebrate their culture and heritage.

Given the level of need on the reservation, Re-Member's work is extremely important.

Jean Adele S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent six days in July 2019 with Re-Member working with the Oglala Lakota on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota. I was with a group from my church and we joined other groups at the Re-Member location. There were three days of hands-on work. The team I was a part of worked on constructing a wheel chair ramp, and painted out-houses. We also helped to maintain a garden project and help in the building of greenhouses or hoop houses.
The other days were spent visiting historical locations, other local towns and schools. There was daily immersion into Indian history and culture. One evening, the community was invited for a meal at Re-Member giving the volunteers an opportunity to share a meal and conversation with residents of the reservation.
The heat and the work were physically exhausting and exhilarating for me. The lessons in history, culture, and the Wisdom of the Elders filled my mind and heart. I began to feel the sacredness of the Indian way of life, thinking, and religion.
I returned home with some realization of the complexity of past history and the present life on the reservation. And also very thankful for the experience and hearing about the spiritually of the Lakota.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the privilege of being able to travel from Aotearoa, New Zealand to become part of the Re-Member team a number of times and have gained so much along the way. To be able to assist in improving the living conditions of others and make life a little easier for them gives as much to the giver as to the receiver. The volunteers are from all walks of life, social status, religious and cultural back grounds and everyone works together with one common goal. The programme offered at Re-Member is awesome in that it includes a mix of work days, cultural outings and educational speakers offering an insight to the history and culture of the Lakota people from Pine Ridge. Through my times at Re-Member I have become part of the Re-Member family and have made friends from across America and the world who I will treasure for life. Mitakuye Oyasin - we are all related. I would highly recommend the Re-Member organisation to anyone wanting to assist others in a practical way while learning more about the lives of others in the process.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been involved with Re-Member for years, and I've worked as part of the staff and as a volunteer. I have always been struck by how humble the organization is. The mission of Re-Member is one of reconciliation, education, and peace; and the organization is always seeking ways to make itself better and to better serve the people of Pine Ridge. While no nonprofit can entirely escape being problematic, Re-Member is diligent about reflection and growth, and seeks input from the communities with which it is involved.

1 Chris S.14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’ve been to work with Re-Member three times since 2004. Every time I go, despite the similarity of the experience (hard work and wonderful fellowship and immersion), I learn something more about the Lakota Oyate and about myself.
This is a great opportunity for young people, but just as good for folks of all ages. I have been with large groups (more than 25) and small groups (just three of us) and have made lifelong friends each time.

2 Lynn C.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Re-Member twice so far. I love the fact that this organization is working with the Lakota people to make their lives better. As a volunteer, I got to do real work that could help improve people's lives. I also love the fact that Re-member provides cultural training and insights about the lives of Lakota. Re-member is not trying to change the people on the reservation, but working to improve and uplift.

2 Julie W.12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re Member gives people a wonderful opportunity to work together with the Oglala Lakota also known as the Sioux on a voluntary basis and gives volunteers a wonderful opportunity to learn about the amazing culture of the Lakota on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I'm going back for.my second visit in a few days. There are opportunities for those of us older or less able to feel useful in week 30 and for the rest of the summer those more able bodied are able to volunteer. Families can volunteer, also groups of people and students. There are talks by Lakota speakers and opportunities to learn about the culture and religion. All you need is an open mind.

3 Sharon Mcdermott K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered 3 years of n a row and will be going back this year as well. I love the people at remember and love serving the people on the rez. I have met some wonderful people there and will continue to volunteer as long as I can.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Re Member in 2016. I went over from the UK, it was a life changing experience for me and I'm going back this year

4 Stasha

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past spring was my 4th opportunity to volunteer with Re-Member. As a chaperone for a high school class I have witnessed the power of the Re-Member experience on high school kids. I’ve watched them contemplate as they learn history they were not taught and see living conditions they have never experienced. They learn about empathy, compassion and community. They learn the importance of working with and for a community to better the world as a whole. They witness generosity at a level they're not accustomed to. They learn the power of laughter. They are encouraged to challenge their preconceived knowledge and beliefs so they can open themselves to learning and having new experiences. It is truly a life-changing experience for them. Re-Member offers an invaluable experience for people of all ages. I have gained deep insights and memorable moments each time I have visited. I hope Re-Member can grow and actualize all their visions so many more people, both on the reservation and off, can reap the benefits for many years to come. As the saying goes, “It takes a village.”

4 Gene D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Gene Delcourt. I am a retired Social Studies teacher from Madison Wisconsin and I taught for 20 years at Malcolm Shabazz City High School. I have taken classes from Shabazz to Re-Member 14 times because from the very first trip I saw a level of growth and awareness in each of my students' lives. For many of the student's, this trip was the first time they have witnessed poverty at this extreme but they all tended to come away from the experience with positivity and a deep sense of love for those folks that we met through the various activities that Re-Member lines up. The overall experience, for each of the hundreds of kids who've come out on these trips, has been overwhelmingly positive!

3 Jason B.3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a Re-Member volunteer 2x over the past 3 years and it's been a life-changing experience learning about the reservation on Pine Ridge and meeting the people there. Re-Member has a great staff...they make you feel like an important part of what they are doing to serve members of the community out there. ...can't wait to go back!

2 Lauren Brielle S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I continue to be in awe of the incredible work that Re-Member does as well as the special relationship they have with the Lakota Indians of the Pine Ridge reservation. It is wonderful the way the program is structured. It enables you to see the “fruits of your labor’ first hand! Whether it’s delivering beds or weeding the beautiful garden at Feather 2 as it grows, each volunteer feels as though they made a difference! I look forward to returning and always regretful when I need to leave... there is definitely a magic that happens at Re-Member and I highly recommend getting involved in this incredible organization to anyone interested!!!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with re-member for the past three years. It is an extraordinary program run by some of the greatest humans you will ever come across. Re-member’s connection with the people of Pine Ridge is wonderful and the volunteer trip is an opportunity to gain tremendous insight into both the rich traditions of the Lakota people as well as the challenges they face. I have never been involved in a more rewarding non-for profit and going back to Pine Ridge has become a tradition for my mother and I!

2 Diane S.5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went out to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and worked with Re-Member in June, 2018. This was my Sixth trip to Re-Member! The organization and leadership of it is totally dedicated to serving the Lakota people on the Rez. Not only do you build and deliver beds to children and adults who have NEVER slept in a bed, dig holes for and build outhouses because they have no running water, put skirting on the trailers they live in to help insulate them from cold and heat, and build ramps and stairs on the trailers, but you also learn about the history and culture while you are there. The experience is so fulfilling and I've built many relationships with people on the Rez. Re-Member is a fantastic organization that truly cares about the Lakota people it serves. The experience touches you right from the start and leaves its mark in your heart.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of serving the past 2 years at Re-Member with the Oglala Lakota. The experience will change your perspective and empower you to do more. A highlight is serving in the community and meeting the people. We had the honor of installing beds for an extended family who were sleeping on sofa cushions on the floor. The Matriarch was so excited for us to install the beds and shared her plans for improving the house to make it a home. Re-Member's volunteer program is well organized, educational, and respectful to their neighbors on Pine Ridge. It's a great place to learn about our country's history and make a difference for the present, and future.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

ReMember is an awesome organization who helps the Lakota Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation. I have gone a few times and each time is an life-changing experience... this year we took our youth group and they all want to go back next year. It was an eye opening experience for everyone involved. Everyone is given the opportunity to help in so many ways... building, painting, skirting trailers, making and delivering bunk beds, digging holes and building outhouses. It’s so nice how they teach us about the culture and get to meet many people and really understand how you are involved in their lives.

3 Mary Jo Butkovich M.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I volunteered at Re-member in May of this year. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It changed me as a person. I went on this mission trip because I wanted to be educated regarding the plight of the Lakota Indians. It was so much more. I worked with amazing staff at Re-member & all my co-volunteers. I still can't get over that we have a 3rd world country right here in the USA. I was appalled at the living conditions of most of the Lakota people. They still don't have water or sewer????? What is wrong with this picture????? The Lakota people that I met were just wonderful people. They love their heritage & fight for it everyday. From the school teacher to the horticulture expert , they work hard to better their fellow Lakota's lives. Re-member is a wonderful organization that is really helping the Lakota people. Please consider giving a donation so they can start Phase 2 of Re-member. Mary Jo Morales

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering at Re-Member for over 10 years and I am a firm believer in the wonderful benefits this nonprofit provides for both the Native Americans who live in Pine Ridge, which is one of the most impoverished places within this country, and to the volunteers who gain a deeper perspective on Native American history and culture. Serving with Re-Member is a transformative experience that is certain to impact the worldview of volunteers. I highly recommend individuals to volunteer and consider donating to this nonprofit organization.

3 Paroo S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a 5-time Re-Member volunteer. Since my journey started with this organization in 2015, it's become an important part of my life. Volunteers learn quickly that their presence and the offering of their time, energies and compassion go a long way in helping to heal wounds on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Re-Member's mission is to heal relationships, meet needs, and help build a future for the Lakota on the Rez; the organization does this in a way that makes important every member of their volunteer team and the experience is beyond rewarding.

Re-Member has become a dynamic part of the community on the Rez; residents smile and wave at us as we travel in the Re-Member van out working on projects; the outreach they provide cannot be overstated...it is such an important and much-needed web of support.

As a volunteer, you become immersed in the culture of the reservation during your visit...through daily interaction with indigenous members of the community; repairing homes, listening to and talking with people, sometimes even sharing a meal or taking part in a special event or celebration. Also through morning "Wisdom of the Elders" talks that prepare you for your day, evening cultural immersion programs with local storytellers, musicians, and other respected members of the community. Re-Member makes every effort to educate their volunteers about the history of the Lakota people, and has a great respect for them.

Re-Member staff are good people with generous hearts...many were once volunteers themselves. Volunteers come with all levels of experience in building/repairing (I had none!) and we are always treated with patience and encouragement. At the end of a week at Re-Member we have a final sharing session and everyone speaks about the gifts they have received by being a volunteer and how the experience has changed their perspectives...and, perhaps, their priorities. The gifts received in your heart are always numerous and irreplaceable. Thank you, Re-Member! Wóphila!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first trip was in May of 2017 with my family and friends from church. Re-Member supports people of the Lakota tribe through help with housing repairs, providing beds and bunk beds, latrines and much more. Re- Member has daily speakers sharing ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ describing life on the reservation and the treatment by the United States over the years. It is a wonderful chance to practice listening. Food is good, hot showers, flush toilets and nice beds. Great for a family service trip. I plan to go again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have returned to Re-Member six times including June 16, 2018. It is truly the highlight of my summertime activities. It does not get any better than working with other volunteers in SERVING the Lakota people. Learning Lakota culture, their spiritual beliefs, and, daily struggles and hardships is truly inspiring and gut wrenching.
The program is well run and the Native American speakers are exceptional. I visit with excitement and cry when I have to leave.
If you want to experience a life changing event, visit Re-Member in Pine Ridge SD. You will NOT be sorry you did.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered here for the 4th time this summer. Every year is a wonderful and heart-wrenching experience. Re-member doesn't just put a band-aid on the issues, it actually works to empower the Oglala Lakota living on the Rez and the volunteers get to see that firsthand. This is such an important organization, as it bridges the gap between "us" and the Oglala and also plays a vital role in educating all the volunteers of the struggles they face.

3 Carl D.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re-Member is an amazing organization dedicated to serving the Lakota people on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Whether you are building a bed for a small child who no longer has to sleep on the kitchen floor, seeing the joy in a mans face after you have helped build stairs so his family no longer has to climb into their meager trailer, or skirting a trailer to save a family thousands of dollars in heating costs over just one winter, you will be changed by your time at Re-Member. In addition they take the time to teach you about the culture, the people and the history of the Lakota people. I have been to Re-Member multiple times and am a better person each time.

2 Kathi Kennedy D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered at Re-Member 4 times in the last 6 years. As a nonprofit organization it goes above and beyond to use their time, materials and money wisely. We are treated as family. Everyone pitches in to keep the housing areas clean and in working order. Each night we gather to soak up the Indian history and culture that is so important to the work that we do there. The Native Americans trust the staff and volunteers at Re-Member. While out on a job site it is not unusual for someone to approach a staff member to ask for some work to be completed. Their reputation on the reservation is what has kept them going for 20 years. Their long term plans seek to add jobs and better resources for healthier food.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mission Trip last week of June 2018. I've truly enjoyed going to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Re-Member. This has been my fourth trip and each time I've gone I learn something new and I become more humbled. Being there to fellowship with staff and getting to know other groups. Truly a place to take those that are in need of grounding and getting in touch with our Creator!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Re-Member in 2006. I wanted an experience that would teach me and still allow me to give back. I had no idea just how great the experience was going to be... an experience that has led me back each year for 12 years.

Re-Member allows you to STOP, breath, take in a different culture, self reflect, and grow as a human being. I don't leave this organization each year pumped up with selfish pride that I've come out and helped the poor. Instead, I leave each visit with a sense of humility, a sense of calm, and definitely a sense of appreciation for the spirit and the persistence of this country's indigenous people.

Re-Member gives you a chance to reach out to our native brothers and sisters, to help however we can, but really to learn from them and their history, their culture, and their current struggles.

This year we built outhouses, bunk beds, and split firewood. Working together with others to achieve daily goals was fulfilling. However, in the end, what I came away with was the high of building relationships, not just with the Lakota people, but with those whom I worked on a united team.

Volunteering for Re-Member is an experience that you can't fully understand until you do it. It changes you, it helps you grow, it opens your mind. It's a beautiful thing to see people come together and care for each other. There is still goodness in this world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was at Remeber on May 19th-25th 2018 for the second time. It is both a very rewarding and thought provoking experience. I have never experienced such poverty and deplorable living conditions. Remember over the past twenty years has developed a trusting relationship with the Lakota. Because of this volunteers are able to participate with building and distributing beds, skirting trailers building and distributing outhouses all of which helps to improve the living conditions of the Lakota. We are also able to share experiences with the Lakota and learn about their very rich culture. Remember provides a great service to the community. The need is great and I feel privileged that I had the opportunity to share in this experience.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my second trip to Re-member and le the first, it was an amazing experience. Both trips were emotional and filled with information. The staff were accepting, loving, and in great spirits. The Lakota Oyate were all kind and appreciative. They were willing to give when they had nothing to give. The groups that were there were like sponges. They youth entered Re-member with a text book paradigm and left with a changed heart and way of thinking. This group was very productive and didn't complain. They were highly excited about the entire experience- kinda shocking with this generation of youth. Relationships are formed and bonded between the two bonkers and the Lakota Oyate. Contact info are exchanged and everyone left with a notin to meet again at their, now, second home Re-member. Though this is my second time, I will always return and remember to fight for Re-member. Mitakuye Oyasin with Macooa.
Pilamaya

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first trip (with a church group who has gone many times). Re-Member supports people of the Lakota tribe through help
With housing repairs, providing beds and
Bunk beds, latrines and much more. Re- Member has daily speakers sharing ‘Wisdom of the Elders’ describing life on the reservation and the treatment by the United States over the years. Re-Member is close to the Massacre of Wounded Knee site and the Badlands. Good food, hot showers, flush toilets and nice beds. Great for volunteers of all ages
.

1 Jerri Beth H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my fourth year volunteering at Re-Member. To me it's like returning home. The opportunity and privilege to work side by side with my Re-member family/community family is a blessing. The Re-member staff put their hearts into their shared vision for Pine Ridge. If I had not seen any changes or commitment I would not continue to return as I have.

2 Kathy L.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Re-Member since 2013. Each visit to the Pine Ridge Indian reservation is a life changing experience. Re-Member offers volunteers the opportunity to serve the Lakota people by assisting with home improvement projects such as building and installing bunk beds and skirting trailers. They go above and beyond to provide culturally enriching outings and activities that provide an opportunity to learn about native american culture and history. Re-Member is committed to working with the Lakota people to improve their living conditions while at the same time celebrating their rich culture with them. Each time I return to Re-Member I feel as if I am returning home.

1 Ruth R.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to volunteer with Re-Member for the second time this year (2018). Although skeptical initially, I was so impressed with my experience the first time I went in 2017 that I vowed to return. Re-Member undertakes simple carpentry work on trailer homes on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation with volunteer labor - typically skirting to insulate, wheelchair ramps and steps, and makes simple wooden bunk beds and outhouses that they also deliver and install at homes. A lot of people on the reservation do not have running water and many families do not have enough beds for the number of people sharing a home. The poverty on the Reservation is extreme, with unemployment at 90%. While other organizations do similar tasks, Re-Member has been on the reservation for 20 years now, and has built lasting relationships with the Lakota people. It is this that makes Re-Member unique, and they bring Lakota cultural experts and interpreters from the reservation to their campus to help the volunteers learn about the Lakota people, hear individual's stories, and learn about the history of indigenous people, the European settlers and the US Governement.
Re-Member also invites their Lakota neighbors and friends to a weekly community meal, and offers them an opportunity to display arts and crafts and connect with volunteers.
Re-Member is now working to create a community farm on a second site that will provide a source of fresh produce on the Reservation, which is a food desert about the size of Connecticut. I experienced Re-Member as not only well-organized and efficient but deeply caring and respectful of the Lakota people. Their staff are excellent: incredibly competent, unfailingly friendly, welcoming and kind. Even unskilled volunteers of all ages are enabled to do good work that makes a difference. I can't recommend Re-Member highly enough.
[The photos are of the long, straight road on "the Rez," a Lakota sweat lodge which my group visited, view from Re-Member's campus and the community garden].

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I heard about Re-Member through a friend and went last summer to volunteer. Nothing could have prepared this city girl for the beauty of the landscape or the extreme poverty of the Lakota people. For the first time in my life I was drilling, sanding, skirting and delivering bunk beds to kids who had never slept in a bed before. It made me feel so good to see the smiles on their faces. It also helped me to realize what I am capable of. Who knew? This summer (June 30-July 6th) I returned as a student of the Way of Life program, taught by Cornel Conroy. Cornel is an Elder and has much wisdom to offer. He honored us by sharing stories of his life and teaching us the ways of the magnificent Lakota culture. I came home with a much deeper understanding of our shared history and the terrible injustices that have been visited upon these people. But I also came away feeling empowered because I am now part of something that is making a difference. Re-Member tirelessly motivates us volunteers, week after week to get out there and do tangible things to give people hope. Even small things like reading to a child or listening to the elders share their stories can make a difference. I can't say enough about this wonderful organization and I look forward to volunteering for many years to come.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was a really great experience working with re-member. I really felt I was volunteering for a good cause, and I learned a lot about the history of the land and the people I was helping. I would most definitely recommend this volunteering experience to another.

2 maryelizabethbardsley

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My trip in 2018 was one of the most rewarding. We were able to cut and deliver firewood all over the reservation, as well as building bunk beds and outhouses in the workshop. Every time I come to Re-Member, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and build relationships with the Lakota people, as well as with the other volunteers and staff. The programs in the evenings are also very valuable, because the speakers allow me to learn and experience the Native American culture. I can then take that knowledge with me and share with my students back home, and be an advocate. Every year I return to Re-Member I feel like I gain more than I give, my heart is full, and I am inspired by the resilience and beauty of the people and the land. This is an organization I have tremendous respect for and will continue to support their efforts on the reservation.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In March of this year, I led a Service Week trip from my school in St. Petersburg, Fl. I was earlier approached by a student who told me about the work that Re-Member does with the Lakota tribe in Pine Ridge and I was asked if I would lead a group. After researching the opportunities available, I signed up our group.It was in brief the most profound experience I have ever been a part. My students, who come from well heeled families had not witness such abject poverty and were inspired by the Re-Member group to take upon the challenges that were presented to them. I would highly recommend this experience to all people who want to help make a difference..

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a high school teacher in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Every year, for the past six years, I have taken 12 students to Re-Member to do service learning projects with Re-Member and the Lakota people. The students who have had the opportunity to describe their experiences have described it as "life-changing". This is a full immersion, cultural experience that allows the students to experience life on the reservation for an entire week. They walk away from the trip with a very different perspective on their own lives and circumstances. I strongly recommend that if you have the opportunity to go to South Dakota, and volunteer with Re-Member it will be an amazing experience that you will never forget. We Love Re-Member!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

June 16-22 was my 5th year out on the Rez with ReMember, and I brought out 15 others with me, with most of them being teens from our church’s youth group. The weather wasn’t cooperative, but the message and the work we were able to do well made up for the rainy days. It was an amazing week with our students being able to see first hand the difference ReMember makes in the lives of the Lakota. Sanding wood for bunk beds the kids helped deliver, to hearing the Wisdom of the Elders who shared their stories, all of us were affected and changed. We came to work and learn, and left filled to overflowing with care, love and stories of how our little bit of effort made a difference. They have all committed to coming back and bringing their friends with them.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I will never forget the time I spent here. I traveled there with 15 high school students, and I was amazed by this trip's impact on them. To watch them interact with the community, to work so hard and so earnestly was a joy in itself. They took everything in with open hearts and open ears, and I heard one of them say that when they left, they hoped to sustain the sense of urgency they felt on the reservation -- and continue to feel pushed to create change and educate others. On a personal level, my time spent as a volunteer is some of the most valuable and meaningful moments in my life. I want to keep these memories close, and never forget the lessons and wisdom of the guest speakers. Weeks later, there hasn't been a day that goes by that I don't think about that place and the people I met. I hope that never changes.

2 Tina W.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When you come here, you will not only work, but you will learn. I have volunteered six times with Re-Member, and every time learn new lessons. The lessons may be hard to hear, but they are necessary. I appreciate the time everyone at Re-Mmeber takes to educate the volunteers on the tasks at hand and on the Lakota people.
It seems impossible that we need to install outhouses in the United States of America, but without them, many people wouldn’t have a bathroom through the harsh winter when they can’t get out of their home. It’s a simple thing not a single volunteer thinks about before they come here. Or the freedom brought by installing a wheelchair ramp. Also something every one of us take for granted we would get if we needed it.
The selfless dedication of the staff that leads the volunteers with their stories and paitience is pretty amazing. To be met with such overwhelming need, and to continuously shuffle through the list, maintain progress and deliver the same message each week to a new group is awesome.
The speakers they arrange are thought provoking and heart-wrenching. The work is hard, yet varied. The land is captivating. And the people you will meet are an eclectic mix. If you leave the Rez unchanged, you must be Scrooge, pre ghostly visits.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my second time working on the Pine Ridge Reservation with Re-Member. I brought with me 16 of my youth and 5 adult leaders for a week of not only hard work, but also hard learning. The experience serving at Re-Member truly is life-changing for every volunteer as we learn about the devastating poverty in our own backyard. It is hard to believe until you are there that building bunk beds, building & installing outhouses, skirting trailers, and building decks/ramps can make such an impact on the families on the reservation. Helping them have a warmer home in the winter or a comfortable place to sleep is a small step in changing life on the reservation, but Re-Member's work there is incredibly moving. I feel very fortunate to be part of helping with an organization that has such passion, compassion and love for those who are in such great need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a life changing place. If you have ungrateful kids, they need to come here to see how some people live in this country. It is a spiritually and emotionally healing place. So meaningful and fun! I've been 3 times so far. I can't wait to come back next year! Mitakiye oyasin! (Lakota for "we are all related")

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As others have said, a week with Re-Member can change your life. This is described as a trip to serve others, but frankly, the gifts I received were as countless and as priceless as any effort I gave to someone else. I learned so much about the Lakota people, I met some amazing people from teenagers to folks older than me, and I got to experience the peerless beauty of the South Dakota badlands. Re-Member is well-organized, they have the right balance of programming, work, and free time, and they have the respect of the people they work with. I will never ever forget the time I spent here, and I plan to come back again and again.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Re-Member is a wonderful organization that is doing life changing work with the Lakota people. The experience I had with Re-Member has impacted me in a profound way and has opened my heart to service to the Lakota nation. I appreciate all of the staff and volunteers at Re-Member and am grateful for the brief opportunity to work beside them.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really enjoyed my trip to Re-Member. It was a great experience. I was only 10 years old when I went, but it was family week so younger kids could come. I did not get to go out to the work sites with my mom, dad and sister. They built things like bunk beds and out-houses. Instead, I got to go see things like buffalo! They were so cool. I got to see them really close up. We had great leaders that were really fun and taught us tons about the Lakota culture. We also got to go on a long but fun hike in the badlands. It was hot, but very neat. I liked climbing and looking for fossils. We also did art projects. The staff that taught us were very nice and funny.
In the evenings, we all regrouped at Re-Member. We slept in bunk beds and they were very comfortable. That surprised me because I thought it would be uncomfortable. I was very happy. The food was good too. It wasn't Lakota food, but the quality was nice and there was something different every day.
I also liked the pow-wow. The dances were cool. I had never seen anything like that before. Kids my age were dancing in cool outfits. I liked all the colors and designs.
Overall, the experience was great. I may not have worked, but the stories we were told by the Lakota elders were fascinating and the facilities were very nice. The people I met were very nice to me. It was a great way for my family to do a volunteer trip together. We are planning to go again next year when I will be old enough to be part of the adult program and do the hard work. I'm looking forward to going back. I'd recommend it. Thanks, Seb