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UCB DECAL Fall '11

Summer 2009 UCLA Trip PDF Print E-mail

For seven days in June 2009, Project Pueblo’s UCLA Chapter led its very first community Service Trip to Navajoland.  This excited bunch of college students spent part of their summer break weeding, teaching, playing, and building at over 7000 feet above sea level in the semi-sovereign nation of the Navajo (or Diné) tribe.  The group’s purpose was threefold:  1) to continue construction work on the Rio Puerco Youth Center, 2) to aid the Boys & Girls Club of the Diné Nation in supervising and encouraging Navajo youth who are out of school for the summer, and 3) to make new contacts for future community service trips.

The group spent its first day on the Rez (short for Navajo Indian Reservation) working with the Boys & Girls Club.  In the morning, they led the children in gardening activities at the Good Shepherd Mission; in the afternoon, the kids led them in basketball and dodgeball (the group’s favorite!) back at the Boys & Girls Club gymnasium.  There also was time for arts and crafts, storytime, and a short film.  In the process, Project Pueblo made new contacts for future work with Navajo youth.  Please contact Project Pueblo leadership at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you’re interested in working with the Navajo people.


Later in the week, the UCLA chapter did some more “advanced” gardening work at the Good Shepherd Mission, which included knocking down a few Siberian elms to make room for native trees and clearing out knapweed.  This was done to make room for a vegetable garden that will soon become part of a school for developmentally disabled youth.  Project Pueblo’s UCLA Chapter was also able to sink their teeth into some construction and cleanup work at the Rio Puerco Youth Center with John Van Eyk of Rez Refuge Ministries (www.rezrefuge.org).  The youth center is looking better than ever!  Check out John’s website, listed above, for updates on the center’s progress.
Finally, the UCLA group learned some valuable cultural lessons and made lasting friendships with different leaders on the Rez.  During a major religious event that week for the Native American Church, some group members learned how to lasso a bull and build a teepee.  Others were able to meet with the lead counsel for the Rez’s Public Legal Service, DNA (its actual name in the Navajo language).  Others met with a number of contacts in the medical community to set up Project Pueblo’s next big trip to the Navajo Nation, the “Medical Service Trip” scheduled for September and led by La Sierra University student, Ryan Wycliffe.  For more information on Project Pueblo’s Medical Service Trips to provide free medical and dental work for the Navajo people, please email Ryan at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

It wasn’t all hard work (and dodgeball)--this fun crew of collegiate volunteers went on two breathtaking hikes (including one to the top of Window Rock, the name of a rock with a “window” that the Navajo Nation capital is named after) and had a lakeside bonfire.  Everyone had a blast and strongly recommends that you join in the good work (and fun!) that makes each and every Project Pueblo trip a success.  Join Project Pueblo today by simply filling out our Membership Form—it’s free and only takes a minute or two!  Also—if you’d like to join us on a future trip, please fill out the Trip Application today and we’ll contact you shortly!

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