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Our Origin Story

Project Distributing Dignity had an unusual beginning. Helping students on the Pine Ridge Reservation was actually initiated by Mackenzie’s brother, Casey, who is on the autism spectrum. He was in a summer camp at the South Dakota School of Mines his junior year of high school when he met 3 Natives from Pine Ridge, who attended the camp on a scholarship. It was here that Casey learned from the 3 fellow students of the horrible conditions on the Reservation. Lack of water. Food insecurities. Lack of heat. Lack of housing. And Casey was struck by the courage these 3 indigenous students had to make life better for their fellow tribal members. Casey decided he wanted to do something, and began a boots, hats and coats drive at his high school, Castle View High School in Castle Rock Colorado.  The drive was unbelievably successful. He and his school’s efforts actually won the National Honor Society Project of the Year Award. And this is where the initial concept of students helping fellow students began… 

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