The Warrens were raised in two very different kinds of communities. Hamilton Warren was reared in New England studying at Harvard while Barbara “Babs” Warren was raised in Guatemala, the child of British coffee plantation owners.
They each had a lifelong commitment to foreign language and diverse cultures, so founding VVS made perfect sense.
Beginning in 1997, VVS Art Instructor Thom Dougherty met Marion Peralta, a member of the Hopi Tribe and through their friendship, discovered a way for his students to combine community service with a special field trip experience.
So for four days, these nine students lived and worked at Hotevilla Village. They were able to spend with local cultural Hopi resource people, like Jerry Honawa, another Hopi Tribal member of Hotevilla.
Honawa was able to give the students both a contemporary and traditional perspective at Hopi life today by an evening lecture series. He is noted for his gift of story and working knowledge of Hopi tradition.
During the day, the students worked on installing a new wood stove and renovating wood flooring. This was not easy work, but a worthwhile project that they could feel good about. For Hotevilla resident, Marion Peralta, it was a way to get repairs done and provide a meaningful cross-cultural friendship as well.
Several Hopi students have attended VVS that were funded through the Jackson Browne Native American Scholarship, including Rachel Honyouti and Somana Thayer Yaiva both of Hotevilla Village. Hopi students from other villages that attended VVS are Shawn and Derrick Pooyouma of Moencopi and Ramona Sakiestewa from Kykotsmovi.