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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Navajo Nation: Students Discover Service, Culture and Themselves on Alternative Spring Break

DuBOIS – With her hand extended before her, fingers outstretched and spread apart, Melissa Woody asked a group of students from Penn State DuBois to replicate her gesture with their own hands.

"We are all five-fingered people," Woody said, demonstrating the equality in all people, regardless of ethnic background, religion, or financial status. "In Navajo tradition, we learn that we are all the same. We are all five-fingered people."

Woody, a Navajo woman with a passion for educating others about her culture, is the Navajo Nation site director for Amizade Global Service Learning. Amizade, based in Pittsburgh, is an organization dedicated to service learning and cultural education that brings volunteers together with opportunities such as those on the Navajo Nation. She accompanied students throughout the week during service and cultural learning experiences, and guided them on visits to landmarks such as the Grand Canyon and Newspaper Rock, and helped to organize educational lectures on Navajo culture, language and government.

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The Penn State DuBois Alternative Spring Break Team for 2016 at Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona.

In front, left to right: Julianne Inzana, Emily Gerew, Alaina Shaffer, Courtney Patterson, Sarah Snyder, Juliana Vokes, Linsey Mizic, Aaron Angstadt, Josh Sanko, Zach Wood, and Ryan Lingle.

In back, left to right: Staff Group Leader Steve Harmic, Staff Group Leader and ASB Organizer Marly Doty, Amber Siverling, Amanda Butler, Kristy Hanes, Sadie Viglione, Emi Brown, Jacob Skubisz, Tamera Anthony, Alaina Stiles, Lauren Johnson, Colleen Mulhollan, and Justin Heasley.

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