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18 Reynolds St.
East Norwalk, CT
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Dedicated to building bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities.

Field Notes from the Reservation: Building relationships, slowly saying goodbye

Simply Smiles blog

Follow our blog and read insights from Simply Smiles staff, volunteers and other individuals whose lives are affected by our work!

Field Notes from the Reservation: Building relationships, slowly saying goodbye

Alex Gross

Today's Field Note is brought to you by University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student and Simply Smiles volunteer Leah Reineccius.

Today was a very fun packed day on the Rez! I was so delighted to see that more children walked with us during the morning mile. We are really starting to make closer connections with the community and hopefully brighten their days. 

After some work projects in the hot sun, it was Dr. Suess Day at camp! It was rewarding to see the kids become really interested in the crafts and activities we prepared for them.

I am relieved that many are breaking out of their shells. Just as we start to build relationships with them, however, it is almost time to leave! These kids are so deserving of love and support and it’s awesome that they have continuous volunteers to shower them with affection. 

The kids and group watch on as a game of Knock Out is played on the new basketball court. (A.Gross, May 2015, La Plant)

The kids and group watch on as a game of Knock Out is played on the new basketball court. (A.Gross, May 2015, La Plant)

The kids were also fortunate to participate in a fire safety workshop with the Reservation’s Emergency Management and Response Team this afternoon. They even practiced putting out small fires with an extinguisher. Some were apprehensive at first, but as the UWSP and Simply Smiles staff serving as their buddies, they quickly warmed up to it. I was so happy to see that the kids are gaining skills and experiences like this. I didn’t even know how to know use a fire extinguisher! 

It’s fulfilling to know that simple steps such as this can slowly start the process of building a stronger community.

Reflecting back on the whole week, I feel that our group has had a successful week and it’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the last day. I wish I could give these community members everything in the world, but I feel fortunate to have hopefully made them smile a little brighter each day :)