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This will be my second time on the trip to the Navajo Nation. Last year, I was amazed by the long standing traditions and cultures of the Navajo people. Yet, I also realized that, irrespective of geography, humans suffer from the same needs. I was surprised to find that the same problems that many communities in my home country face are the same problems that a community thousands of miles away – the Navajo community – faces. Returning and co-leading this service trip this January, I am eager to work with the Navajo people again and also have the opportunity to do everything that I did last year better. 

So, I am dedicating my January to service and need your help to do so. I, along with 8 other students, are traveling to New Mexico to participate in a service project on the Navajo Nation Reservation through Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA) at Harvard. Our team, along with an epidemiologist and pediatricians, will provide medical care and health screenings in partnership with local Head Start programs as well as work at food banks and for community outreach programs.

The Navajo Nation experiences extreme poverty. The unemployment rate on the reservation is 45 percent. Over 56 percent of family incomes fall below the federal poverty line. More than half of homes do not have electricity or plumbing. For many residents, competitively priced goods and services are over fifty miles away. What particularly struck me is the reality of healthcare on the Navajo Nation. Access to physicians there is extremely limited. Additionally, many Navajo—especially the elderly—are unable to access resources located miles away in the winter, when heavy snowfall makes travel extremely difficult without a vehicle. During my trip we will be able to directly approach these problems.

But to make this trip possible, I need your help to ensure we have enough materials and supplies. I would appreciate any contribution, no matter the size, to help me make my work this January a reality. Additionally, your gift is fully tax-deductible! Thank you for supporting communities and making this amazing service experience possible for me. Happy Holidays! 

Yours in service, 

 Colette

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