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Thank you for your interest in Simply Smiles! We invite you to explore our projects in Oaxaca, Mexico and on the Cheyenne River Reservation, as well as volunteer opportunities in these locations.

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East Norwalk, CT

Dedicated to building bright futures for impoverished children, their families, and their communities.

Field Notes from the Reservation: Flexibility is fun!

Simply Smiles blog

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Field Notes from the Reservation: Flexibility is fun!

Alex Gross

Today's Field Note is brought to you by Jennifer Dupont, a long-time volunteer of Simply Smiles from Naugatuck, Connecticut. Her message: Learning that flexibility can be - and is - fun!

Good afternoon from sunny La Plant, South Dakota! What a difference a day makes! We went from freezing rain and snow to sun and wind in just a 24-hour period. As the Simply Smiles motto goes, "flexibility is fun."

This is my third trip to the Reservation, and I almost didn’t recognize it when we drove up.

There have been so many changes and improvements in just one year: the impressive horseshoe pits, the huge garden and high tunnel, the full size basketball court, the beautiful pow wow grounds and the incredible tipis. 

It is certainly a welcoming place for the children and adults and these features are now a prominent part of their community.

Yesterday was our first day of camp, and the big hit this year is Gordon and Elliott’s Giant Jenga game! They were only half way completed with it and the kids were already having a blast playing. There was coloring, crafting and game playing, but my favorite was the snowball fight with the kids. My only regret was not having brought gloves with me - they would have really been in trouble then!

  Balancing act:  The life-size Jenga game required concentration...and lots of deep breaths from participating campers!

Balancing act: The life-size Jenga game required concentration...and lots of deep breaths from participating campers!

We have been working on the garden, getting more beds ready for planting and finishing work on the new house. Not enough hours in the day to get it all in! I am sad when we have to stop working, and I haven’t completed my project but then I realize I get to play with the kids. I am sad when the kids all go home but then I realize how exhausted I am.

I wish I could put into words how much this place and everyone here means to me. I am so grateful and blessed to be able to have this opportunity to be a part of something as special as this.

Thank you Simply Smiles staff and interns for always taking such great care of us!

Now, back to work!