Ten Wake Forest University students and a faculty adviser will volunteer at a Navajo reservation in Ganado, Ariz., May 14-28.
While in Ganado, the students will work with the elderly living both in independent living situations and in an assisted living home. Some of the projects the students will undertake include lawn care, minor home repairs, painting and roof work. They will also work in the Hubble National Park Trading Post while not on the reservation.
“These students are absolutely committed to doing anything they need to do—whether it’s chopping wood or mending a roof,” said Dana Greene, the trip’s faculty adviser. She is an assistant visiting professor of sociology at Wake Forest.
Ganado’s “standard of living is so much lower than what we are accustomed to,” said Greene. “There are people living in absolute poverty — but to them it’s functional.”
The trip is sponsored in part by the Wake Forest Pro Humanitate Fund for Service-Learning in Action and the Wake Forest Volunteer Service Corps. The Pro Humanitate Fund covers the cost for the student leader and faculty leader on the trip and helps to subsidize some of the costs for participating students. The group also held a car wash, a raffle and a Krispy Kreme doughnut sale. Individual students solicited donations from friends, family, employers and their hometown church and businesses through a letter-writing campaign.
The student-initiated trip has been in the planning phase since March, and the students are optimistic about their contributions to the reservation.
“This just worked out really well,” said Catherine Alley, the student leader. “I’ve done a lot of volunteering in Winston-Salem and I think it’s important for someone to volunteer at the same place each week. But, there’s something to be said for a group of people giving up one or two weeks for service.”