Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program | Move Forward. Give Back.​®

As many of you know I am a big supporter of Growing Bolder as I see the organization as one that encourages and inspires. Move Forward. Give Back.® is a celebration of individuals who see what is needed around them and contribute in their own way to making the world a better place. I wanted to take this opportunity to share the story below about a woman I know who has shown that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of others. 

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Linda Myers & the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Last year I was invited to design fundraising and promotional materials for the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and the Annual Navajo Rug Show in Deer Valley, Utah. It was my honor and privilege to contribute in a small way to such a meaningful and important organization. I knew from local fundraising efforts that truck loads of food and wood were collected and delivered to the Traditional Elders on the Navajo Reservation a couple of times each year. What I didn’t know at that time, and would soon find out, is that this internationally known organization, with volunteers coming from all over the world, was initially conceived by one woman who wanted to make a difference. Her name is Linda Myers of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program and she is one of the most inspirational people I know.

We have all heard the story of the “Butterfly Effect." A butterfly flaps its wings and the conditions change to lead to a larger effect somewhere else. Linda is that butterfly. Decades ago she began gathering items from friends and family to donate to the Native Elders at the Navajo Reservation and grew her one woman campaign to help others into a broad reaching non-profit that serves over 500 elders each year.

Most of the elders do not speak english and have chosen to live in the "cultural and spiritual traditions of the Dine' People." They live in remote locations on the reservation choosing to live traditionally while raising sheep, with no plumbing, no electricity and often far away from medical help and water supply. The elders range in age from 75 to 105 years of age. They have spent their lives on the land and for that reason they prefer to "age in place." So Linda developed a much needed program that brings supplies to them so they may live their lives in the way they choose.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

An organized team fills boxes that will be later transported to the Native Elders.

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Linda Myers Founder of Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program

Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale
One of the primary fundraising efforts on behalf of the Elders is the Annual Navajo Rug Show and Sale in Deer Valley, Utah. This year is the 26th annual show and it runs from November 6-8, 2015. The rugs range in sizes and you will also see jewelry and crafts. Each year there is a theme to the event and this year the theme is Weaving Ceremonial Blankets inspired by Pendleton designs. To read more click here.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

Above: examples of just a few of the designs that will be shown at the rug show.

I cannot tell you how excited I am about the work ANE is doing. I recently had a conversation with my kids about the importance of giving to others and they conveyed to me that one person cannot do all that much to bring about change. In that moment I was able to call upon what I know about Linda and her drive and determination to honor and help others. How she has been able to meet people where they are at and give. I find it completely inspiring and feel there is a lesson in there for all of us. Click on this link to watch this short video on ANE as Linda describes how meaningful this volunteer work is to everyone involved.

"While I was probably not a likely candidate to make a difference....I was a single mom.."
"I don't know if we ever know what we are doing in life but I think the real gift
in life is when spirit calls you to something and you answer the call."
~Linda Myers

Thank you to Linda and everyone at ANE for sharing their story with us. There are a number of ways to get involved with ANE from sponsoring an elder to donating time in the warehouse or donating food, wood and other necessities. To donate food, yarn, medical supplies, firewood and more to a Native Elder Please Click Here. For more information on ANE please click here.

Thank you for reading