The Atchison community has recently given another community 1,000 miles away the help they desperately needed.
The Atchison High School Interact Club is working with Benedictine student and wrestler Calvery Tsosie to help the plight of the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona where he is from and is currently living because of the pandemic.
The Navajo Reservations are currently running out of supplies, have little or no running water, and are without electricity.
Reservation hospitals are understaffed, underfunded, and the medical personnel have been forced to turn their High School gymnasiums into treatment centers.
Atchison wrestling and Interact club sponsor Ed Crouse, teaches a history class at Benedictine and recently noticed that Tsosie was having a rough time turning his work in on time due to the lack of electricity available to him on the reservation.
Crouse talked to Tsosie about the dire situation he and other Native Americans are facing on the reservation during the pandemic.
“I started doing some research and found out just how bad this whole thing was,” Crouse said.
Crouse said many students at Atchison had been interested in helping the Native American community in the past.
“I had some kids that were really into helping with this for a couple years and wanted to do a project that involved reservations,” Crouse said.
Crouse and the Interact Club were able to also get the help of Diane Liebsch and the Atchison Rotary club, as well as Sheila Gartenmayer and Benedictine College.
Crouse said the goal is to keep this effort going beyond the pandemic in the hopes of more activities involving Atchison and the reservation.
“Our hope it take make this a thing beyond COVID-19,” Crouse said. “We want to maybe do somethings in the long term and making this kind of a cultural exchange where we visit or do some learning and teaching activities with them and their schools.”
Tsosie was overcome with gratitude for all the effort being put in to help the reservation.
“I’m just speechless about,” Tsosie said. “Amazing is really the only word that comes to mind because it’s really helping a lot of people and it gives me a sense of hope and joy.”
On the reservation, one out of 10 houses has electricity in their homes and four out of 10 have running water and plumping.
“It’s hard to wash your hands when you don’t have any running water in your home,” Crouse said. “Those type of conditions shouldn’t be happening in America in the 21st century but they are.”
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to assist in the effort helping the Navajo community, you can send cash or check payable to “Atchison High School — Interact Club” to Atchison High School, 1500 West Riley, or to the Atchison Public School Board Office, 626 Commercial St., Atchison, KS 66002.