contact us


1730 State Street Extension
Bridgeport, CT, 06605
United States


Simply Smiles provides bright futures for children, families, and communities. The organization partners with populations in need to create physical and emotional environments where suffering is alleviated and from which local leaders can emerge.

Field Notes from the Reservation: Day one - latrine hole digging, ultimate basketball, and having "a hoot and a half"

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: Day one - latrine hole digging, ultimate basketball, and having "a hoot and a half"

Alex Gross

Today's Field Note is brought to you by volunteers Amber Heil, Kayla Skaletski, and Cassie Van Buren, students from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. Below, they describe their first full day (Sunday) in La Plant, full of work projects and meeting the people in town.

Greetings from South Dakota!

Today was a fun-filled day of work and excitement. The first thing on our agenda was a tour of the community and the community center. Sam gave us a lot of information regarding the historical perspectives of the Lakota and locations of the possible work activities we will be helping with throughout the week. After lunch, we chose what activities we wanted to participate in today and went our separate ways. Some of us helped repair broken latches on doors (damaged by South Dakota wind), others painted signs for the garden shed, a couple of us helped to build bunkbeds for all the interns coming this summer, some helped prepare for the community dinner that was held this evening, some organized the craft supplies for camp this week, and the lucky ones helped to start the process of moving the latrines.

The UWSP crew starts building bunk beds!

The UWSP crew starts building bunk beds!

One thing we learned was to not dig too deep around the latrines or you will break the seal and may not like the smell. 

After our work duties, we all helped to set up for the community dinner. We had the opportunity to ride on the bus and pick up community members for the dinner. Everybody was excited for the mac and cheese that was prepared. After dinner, the elders and people that didn’t want to get wet stayed in and talked or played games and everyone else went outside for a game of ultimate basketball. 

Some of us volunteers and some of the kids went outside to play basketball, which was awesome! We couldn't believe how good the kids were! It was so fun. 

It has been a long time since any of us have played in the rain. We were drenched but we had a hoot and a half. We can’t wait for tomorrow to have the first day of camp with the kids!