North America

Giving Back: Adopt-A-Native-Elder



While filming in Park City, Utah this summer I fortuitously came across a promotional flyer for a program called “Adopt A Native Elder” and was immediately intrigued. We made contact and interviewed founder, Linda Myer and her dedicated staff and volunteers at their warehouse in Salt Lake City where they were packing for an upcoming “Food Run”.  According to their website, the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program exists to create a Bridge of Hope between Native Americans and other cultures.  They do this by providing food, medicine, clothing, fabric and yarns to help these Elders, some of whom are in their 80s and 90s or even older. 

As they have become elderly, it has become more difficult for them to support themselves on the Land in their traditional ways. After my interview with Linda and Roger, the organization’s Navajo interpreter and ambassador, I was so taken with the program that I pledged then and there to participate in an upcoming food run.


Months later, I was finally able to fulfill my pledge by participating in the Many Farms Food Run in a remote area of the Navajo reservation in Arizona and it was as amazing as I expected.

I flew into Phoenix on some business the day before and then drove almost 5 hours to the meeting point in Chimle, Arizona. I arrived late at night at the lovely Best Western hotel in town and woke up early to meet up with the volunteers and to get briefed at breakfast.

Linda immediately spotted me and after our greeting graciously asked if I’d brought any long pants (I was wearing 3/4 length pants). Luckily I had. It turns out the Navajo are conservative and to show proper respect, the volunteers are asked to dress conservatively with the females wearing long skirts and men wearing long pants. No sleeveless t-shirts either. The main thing is to keep oneself covered.

Linda introduced me to the group of volunteers as I nervously apologized for my inappropriate dress (an unintentional but now long running theme throughout the show),  and everyone laughed. It was a jovial, giving and welcoming atmosphere with approximately 50 or so volunteers from all over the U.S. including Utah, California, Texas, Indiana and at least one other person from New York City.



It was a somewhat older adult crowd with many retirees taking advantage to give back, but there were also younger folks and families with kids as well as solo travelers in attendance. The kids particularly impressed me with their selfless attitude and commitment. In my view, these kids are bound for a lifetime of giving, empathy and betterment. I spent a lot of time with them and found their maturity and character at such a young age simply inspiring.   

We left in convoy from the hotel and arrived at the gathering point on the reservation around mid morning before any elders would arrive, some making a several hour journey in from remote corners of the reservations and many arriving in walkers or wheelchairs, many of which had been donated. It was obvious that many rarely if ever are able to leave home but the ANE Foodruns are special occasion for these folks.



Not only does the event allow them to stock up on food and other necessities to get them through the winter, they view these ANE occasions as social where they are able to fellowship and see old friends be they fellow tribes people or volunteers from ANE, many of whom have been coming for years and have developed long held bonds and relationships with the Natives.

Witnessing deep friendships that transcended generational, ethnic and cultural gaps was perhaps the most heartwarming part of the entire Food Run process

The elders were as sweet as could be and they and their caretakers (if they had them) of sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, etc., were grateful and appreciative. Many of the elders did not speak English but as always, smile and a warm handshake or hug bridged any language or cultural barrier. Some of the Natives also brought gifts for exchange (rugs, yarn, etc.) giving the event a festive rather than charitable feel. 


The ANE foodruns have been going on for over 30 years and by now, it’s run like a well oiled machine. Every possible scenario was covered and it was obvious this organization is a “waste not, want not” kind of place. The support that ANE receives goes directly to the native elders with very little administrative overhead that you would find in a larger organization.

They know by now the things that the elders most need. Items that might seem humdrum to you and I such as work gloves, knit hats, hand lotion, instant coffee, peanut butter, yarn, etc. Every elder is taken care of and every effort was made to create an event that was more of a celebration of a culture among good friends rather than a charity give away.  There were skits, entertainment, games and giveaways along with a wonderful buffet style lunch that was a mixture of Native and non Native food. 

Indeed, it was hard for me to keep a dry eye during the parts of the day. The love and good will flowing from Native to Non Native and back was palpable. When the young Native children showed up for their toys, I thought I would lose it.  Simple pleasures from kids who don’t know a thing about a computer or video game but who were absolutely thrilled with a new plastic toy car or action figure that most kids in our country today would simply sneer at. 


The Elders.. the kids.. the volunteers… the love… the warmth.. in the peaceful (if hot and dusty) setting of the Arizona desert, it was surreal as well as a mind and life altering.

I hope I’m able to actually “adopt” a native elder or return on a Food Run soon and while it remains to be seen, it’s a memory I’ll treasure and keep for life.

I encourage you to find out about the ANE and see if it’s for you and if you are so moved, participate on a Food Run or Adopt-A-Native-Elder yourself. Please visit their website HERE and look for their segment in 2016 on Raw Travel.



Raw Travel Western Road Trip – Press Tour

Raw Travel’s Western Road Trip resulted in a plethora of press and interviews, articles and appearances on a variety of local morning and news shows.

Here is a small sample of what went down.




Screenshot (776) Denver KDVR Fox 31 Show
Raw Travel Featured on KDVR Fox 31 Denver












See the video HERE


Screenshot (787)
Raw Travel Feature in the Albuquerque Journal















Albuquerque, Journal Article 



ABC 4 Utah
ABC 4 Utah Interview in Salt Lake City



K2TV News in Casper Talks to Raw Travel
K2TV News in Casper, Wyoming Talks to Raw Travel for their Evening Newscast
North America Public Relations



AIM Tell-A-Vision Group /


–  New Episodes to Showcase New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming & the Dakotas-

 NEW YORK, NY: May 27th, 2015 – AIM Tell-A-Vision® Group (AIM TV) announced today that Raw Travel®, the nation’s most watched authentic travel series, is a “firm go” for Season 3 and is kicking its production off in June with the “Great North American Road Trip – Western Frontier”.

The indie produced, adventure travel series is currently in its 2nd season. It has experienced +46% year-to-year audience growth and surpassed viewership of much bigger budgeted, cable network prime time travel shows to become the nation’s most watched authentic travel show on commercial TV.

For Season 3, the adventure travel series promises its most diverse season yet with far flung destinations on the menu such as Western Africa, French Polynesia, Northern Europe, Southeast Asia, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America. Raw Travel will first kick off its 3rd Season production in June with a unique look at the great U.S. western frontier as the crew embarks on a month long road trip through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

In its trademark style, the show plans to showcase adventure travel to these destinations in a way never before seen on U.S. television. The show will dig deep into indigenous roots found in the western United States while seeking out underground sub cultures and socially conscious living and travel angles.

“Season 2 episodes in Eastern Europe & Southeast Asia were wild and wooly and helped push Raw Travel to become the most watched travel series on U.S. television, but our U.S. destinations of Nashville, New York City and New Orleans were even more popular,” states Host & Executive Producer Robert Rose. “We’ll begin in New Mexico and then, in a truly bold move, we’ll explore other U.S. destinations that don’t actually begin with the letter ‘N’ as we road trip for a month through some of the U.S.’s most storied locations and beautiful landscapes,” Rose continues.

The show also hopes to continue to discover and showcase emerging, independent musicians while highlighting unique volun-tourism opportunities featured in its weekly “Give Back” segment.

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Raw Travel is an adventure travel & lifestyle series showcasing the rapidly growing wave of socially and environmentally aware independent travel. The series weaves together themes of eco-tourism, volun-tourism (giving back) with underground music and authentic culture in a way unique to television.

Raw Travel can currently be seen in over 116 U.S. cities representing over 85% of the United States and in a variety of international territories such as Asia, Belgium, Italy, Romania, Russia and Africa. Viewers may visit for a listing of U.S. affiliates and time slots. More information at and @rawtraveltv for twitter.


AIM TV is an independent content, production and distribution company founded by media executive and entrepreneur Robert G. Rose. AIM TV aspires to produce and distribute positive, compelling content that reflects its mission of presenting Media That Matters. Visit and for more information.