Running Strong for American Indian Youth® was founded 30 years ago with the mission of helping Native people who struggle to get the simple basic necessities of life – which foremost includes water.

Thanks to friends like you, we have been able to provide water to the people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, drilled hundreds of wells, delivered it by the truckload to thousands, and most recently connected families to the Oglala Sioux Rural Water Supply System, the largest Native American/Tribal Water System in the United States.

While hundreds of Pine Ridge families live within a few hundred feet of the main service water line, they do not have the means to pay for the connection and water lines to their homes

installing water line

Thanks to our supporters, since 2015 Running Strong has been able to bring 117 families, representing 853 Lakota children, parents and elders, with all the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing and washing at an average cost of about $4,000 per connection.

With the success of the program on Pine Ridge, we expanded our program to the Navajo Nation in 2018 where we have provided 34 families, representing 179 individuals with running water.

Among the families you have helped provide water to is Anthony, a young single father who lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with his 3-year-old daughter. Father and daughter have not had running water at their home for over a year. In order to get water, Anthony had to haul water from three miles away from his home – a long and tiring trip for this single dad.

Anthony applied to Running Strong’s Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) program for assistance with a water connection. After an evaluation from Running Strong’s water coordinator Ken Lone Elk, Anthony’s application was approved. Once the project began, it only took a day and a half for the entire water connection to be completed.

house after installation

Today Anthony and his daughter have all the fresh, clean water they need right at their house. Anthony is very thankful that he and his daughter now have a water connection and he no longer has to haul water from miles away.

With the ground frozen solid during the winter months on Pine Ridge, our field staff will be busy poring over applications so that when spring arrives the Mni Wiconi (Water is Life) program will be able to resume at once.

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