This year, the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund is proud to dedicate its 2023 Giving Tuesday campaign to providing much-needed books to the Owyhee Combined School on the Shoshone-Paiute Duck Valley Indian Reservation. The school has already initiated big changes as part of an ambitious renovation plan and the ILF is thrilled to lend its support. On Tuesday, November 28th, 2023, all donations to the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund will support the school with an author visit and new books for the school’s library collection. Every dollar contributed will go towards purchasing books.
The ILF steering committee was inspired by the remarkable efforts that the Owyhee community has put forth to make this school into a place where students can thrive.
Located on the Nevada-Idaho border, this school, which was built in 1954 and serves 300 students from pre-K through 12th grade, has fallen into a state of dire disrepair. In addition to lacking regulation ballfields, basketball courts, and an updated library, the Owyhee School is also without sufficient heat in the winter, safe plumbing, and a secure roof. Some parts of the school are so old and dangerous that students and staff are no longer allowed to use them.
School counselor Shana Thomas says, “We were put on this reservation to be forgotten and that’s how we feel.”
This was unacceptable to the Owyhee community—and they decided to do something about it. Earlier this year, students and staff from Owyhee Combined rallied together to petition the Nevada State Legislature to support the construction of a new, safe, and vibrant school. They traveled over eight hours by school bus to make their case—and they won. A historic bipartisan partnership between the Nevada State Government and the Owyhee community has resulted in renewed funding and an exciting plan for a renovated school. Owyhee student activists led the charge. These kids are exactly the kind of leaders we need to support.
Everyone at the ILF was energized by these remarkable student activists and plans to provide the Owyhee school community with a large collection of books focusing on indigenous authors and heritage, and an author visit to promote a love of reading throughout the newly-constructed school.
Owyhee Combined School staff member Myrna Hilderbrand says, “Our students prove that our small school and limitations don’t stop them from being great.”
We agree and encourage everyone to donate to the ILF’s 2023 Giving Tuesday campaign. Let’s show the community of Owyhee that they have not been forgotten.
Focusing on Owyhee this November can make a lasting, concrete difference. Even a contribution of $20 can buy two new books to put in the hands of one of these incredible and changemaking kids. If you want to support this school with books and author visits, donate to the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund on Tuesday, November 28th, 2023.