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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 22, 2003 - Issue 81


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Princeton Students Volunteer Time in Bell

by The Cherokee Nation
BELL - Most college students spend Christmas break eating, sleeping, or spending time with family, but eighteen students from Princeton University volunteered a week of their time to help the residents of the Bell community.

During the day, the volunteers did various projects, such as painting, building repair, and reading to students at Bell school. In the evenings, they were treated to dinner, provided by members of the Bell community, and guest speakers who spoke on the Cherokee culture and aspects of the Cherokee Nation. After their nightly activity, the students retired to their makeshift campground inside the Bell school gym.

"They had a really full week," said Mary Mead, Cherokee Nation volunteer coordinator who helped coordinate the students' trip. "They did volunteer work and also got to experience the Cherokee culture. They even got to go to a Cherokee gospel singing and experience the language. Some of the students had volunteered with different tribes and they said we gave them a better reception than any other place in the world, and were proud of that."

"I had a good time helping the kids in the classroom," said Avril David, Princeton sophomore who volunteered.

"It was an unforgettable trip," said Russ Renzas from Princeton. "The people were open and friendly, the food was great, I learned a tremendous amount about Cherokee culture and issues affecting the Cherokees in modern society. They even made me a Sooner fan. It hurt to leave. I'd love to go back."

The Cherokee Nation hosts 10 to 12 volunteer groups per year from colleges and universities around the world, according to Jeff Crow, Cherokee Nation volunteer program assistant. If you or your organization is interested in volunteering, contact Mary Mead at (918) 456-0671 ext. 2899.

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