DON’T FORGET: Support The Main’s Renovation Through a
Running Strong for American Indian Youth Matching Grant Until September 30, 2012

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced exciting plans for the fall semester of “Main University” at The Main, its youth center on East Lincoln Street in Eagle Butte. The center, founded in 1988 and in its current facility since 1999, is dedicated to serving 4- to 12-year-olds on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation.

The semester will officially kick off on Monday, October 1. CRYP staff and volunteers plan to host eight classes: Lakota Culture & Language, Creative Writing, Greek Mythology, Geography, the Art of Games, Dance, Cooking and Science. According to Megan Guiliano, youth programs director, many of the class topics were chosen based on the kids’ interests.

“They specifically expressed an interest in having classes on Lakota culture, cooking, dance and science,” she explained. “Our staff and volunteers were excited about those choices too, so now we’re all looking forward to the start of this fall’s Main University program in a couple of weeks.”

Teachers will include both staff members and both long- and short-term CRYP volunteers. Children will have the opportunity to choose one of two classes held at the same time each day, with different courses held each day of the week. The program takes place Monday through Friday, with a graduate date tentatively set for Saturday, December 1.

Main University is one of the CRYP’s most popular and enduring programs. Recipient of a “Champion for Children” award from the South Dakota Coalition for Children, Main University is designed for 4- to 12-year-olds who attend CRYP’s Main Youth Center. Long-term volunteer Tracie Farrell founded the program in 2002.

“Main University is a program that fits right at the core of who we are and what we do,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We believe we can help our kids attain a more secure future through programming that fosters self-sufficiency and a steadfast pursuit of higher learning. Main University teaches our children that they can take an active role in their own education, from choosing courses based on their interests to engaging with instructors, classmates and the subject matter. It shows children that learning can be interesting and fun.”

“We love to see how proud the kids are of their performance during each Main University semester,” Guiliano added, “and it’s wonderful to see how proud their families are when it’s time to celebrate their graduation. With each semester, we hope to give our kids some new skills that will serve them well as they move on to high school and perhaps post-secondary education.”

Also this fall, CRYP will be hosting a “Back-to-School Literacy Party” for all Fall Literacy participants who read 10 or more books at their age level during the month of September. Scheduled for Friday, September 28, the party will be an ice cream social.

“We hope to invite a special guest from the community to speak to the kids about the power of stories,” Guiliano advised.

Programs like Main University and Summer/Fall Literacy have become mainstays for young children on the Cheyenne River reservation, as have Garden Club, Arts & Crafts and a variety of wellness/outdoor activities. For nearly 25 years, Cheyenne River’s children have come to rely on The Main to provide a safe place to play and learn, to engage with positive role models and to enjoy healthy meals and snacks.

Admittedly, the 13-year-old Main building needs some attention, and to that end, CRYP is conducting an important campaign to raise funds for renovating and rehabilitating the facility. And time is running out: Just two weeks remain to secure a critical Running Strong for American Indian Youth matching grant. If CRYP raises $25,000 by Sunday, September 30, Running Strong will match that amount, dollar for dollar.

But the not-for-profit, grassroots youth organization has to secure its $25,000 contribution by the end of the month for the grant to apply.

“We need the assistance of all of our friends and supporters around the country, and around the world, to reach this goal in time,” said Megan Guiliano, CRYP’s youth programs director. “We have an extensive list of needs for The Main, and it deserves our attention, given the important role it has played, and continues to play, in the lives of our children.”

Funding will be used to replace The Main’s front doors, as well as all other interior and exterior doors. CRYP will repair and replace windows, replace light fixtures, replace locks and other critical hardware, and replace appliances such as the freezer and dishwasher. In addition, the youth project will continue its ongoing project to replace aging carpet with new tile.

Again, just two weeks remain to help CRYP secure the Running Strong matching grant. To support this critical fundraising effort, simply visit and click the “Donate Now” button. Checks also may be sent to the Cheyenne River Youth Project, P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625. Make sure to specify in your online note or on your check that you wish to support the Main Rehabilitation project.

To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project® and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, visit the youth project’s Facebook “Cause” page. All Cause members will receive regular updates through Facebook.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project®, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.