Letter from Dylan Arevian, 2017-2018 Foley Prize Recipient

Dear Derby Community,
 
My name is Dylan Arevian, and I was chosen to be the Class of 2018 Foley Prize Recipient. The Foley Prize challenges the recipient to undertake a service project that will be a main focal point during the school year. Throughout my five years at Derby, I have always loved the creative and revolutionary Foley Prize projects that I have witnessed as a middle and upper schooler. This year, as an eighth grader, I am so excited to share the charity of my choice with you. I have chosen to raise money for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Pine Ridge is an Indian Reservation, sometimes still referred to as Prisoner of War Camp 334, located in the Southern part of South Dakota. For decades, Pine Ridge has been struggling with housing, poverty and infrastructure issues, with help and awareness from the outside world ranging from minimal to none. While the situation gets worse and worse, the people of Pine Ridge become severely discouraged about their situation, eventually leading to a deteriorating community. The statistics are staggering:
  • Pine Ridge is the poorest county in the US by per capita income
  • 90% unemployment rate
  • 70% high school dropout rate
  • The average life expectancy is 47 for men and 52 for women (lowest on the Western Hemisphere)
  • The teenage suicide rate is 150% higher than the national average
  • 97% of people live far below the poverty line
  • The median income is $2600 to $3500 per year
  • The infant mortality rate is 300% higher than the national average
  • An average of 17 people share a three to four room house
  • The temperatures range from -50 F in the winter to 110 F in the summer
                  Add this along with the fact that, if all treaties remained intact, the Lakota Nation would be around the size of Minnesota. Lakota land, now spread sparsely around the country, is miniscule, and Pine Ridge is even smaller; just 3,500 square miles. How long will it take for us to realize that we have destroyed the lives of thousands of people who were here before us? How long will it take for us to do something about this injustice that is currently happening in our own country?

Throughout the year, I will be hosting many charity events and collecting donations. One of my main goals is to underscore coat, bike, and toy donations for the children of Pine Ridge. I also hope to raise awareness about unfairness in Pine Ridge, and I hope to connect to each individual child and faculty member of the Derby community to encourage them to give donations and work hours in helping to set up, run, and clean up at fundraising events.

Please be sure to visit the Fall Fair, where I will have a booth set up to answer any questions that you may have and an open donation collection running!

Check the website for any updates about the project!!

Best Regards,
Dylan Arevian, Class of 2018 
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