Youth Forward Scholarship Summer 2017 – Knowing the Opposite Side

Name: Kallen Blacksmith
From: Hanover, NH
Grade: 11
School: Dartmouth College
Votes: 0


Anpetu Waste! Ta Tiopa Waste Win emaciyapi, Oglala etan wahi. Hello! My
Lakota name is Her Good Door Woman, English name Kallen Blacksmith,
and I come from the Pine Ridge Reservation. My reservation is
infamous for its alcoholism, suicide rates, violence, and poverty,
and I have been personally impacted by each of these situation. I
know what it is like to have to deal with these different problems,
so if I’m lucky enough to be on the opposite side of situations, I
try my best to be there and help out those less fortunate.

Growing up, my family and softball team has the same mentality, so we try to
help out as often as we can by providing Thanksgiving meals, Mother’s
Day meals, Independence Day fireworks, and Easter Egg Hunts to those
in our community who aren’t able to have one of their own. Since
our reservation is so focused on alcohol and suicide, we try our best
to provide opportunities to the youth and general community so that
they may have good and safe fun.

When I needed to get off the reservation, I went to a boarding school for
my high school years. I saw things needing to be done, so I stepped
up and began participating in activities around campus. I took up
leadership roles in the dorms, school newsletter, school magazine,
LGBTQA community, and just around the campus and community in
general. In my various clubs, we’ve provided free food, awareness,
and general activities to the student body. I’ve worked on a
proposal to have a more environment friendly school, asking for more
solar panels and reusing our leftover food to make compost for our
community garden. Our LGBTQA group has presented to the school board,
and our fellow student body about the issues this community faces,
and how to make our school a safe and friendly environment for
everyone.

I believe that with all of these problems and struggles we have, it is
my job to step up and make a change. I’ve encouraged my friends and
peers to step up and help whenever possible, and now they do it on
their own without me there. These initiatives we have taken will have
a great impact on our student body, our community, and hopefully even
the world. I hope this impact will be carried on through the people
who have witnessed, been affected, or have taken part in the change,
as I know I will take these lessons and utilize them wherever
possible.

Volunteering has been a huge part of my life, and I have seen the positive impacts
that it has had not only on the issue we were trying to help, but the
community and even the volunteers as well. Seeing the world as a
better, safer place has shown me that I would like to continue doing
this for the rest of my life in any way that I can.


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