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Monthly Archives: September 2014

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    The 2014 Christmas Toy Drive is Under Way, with Goal of Serving 1,500 Children This Year

The 2014 Christmas Toy Drive is Under Way, with Goal of Serving 1,500 Children This Year

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the holidays, turning Christmas into a high-stress occasion. Yet this day should be so much more; as an anonymous sage once noted, “Rejoice in the spirit of Christmas which is Peace, the miracle of Christmas which is Hope, and the heart of Christmas which is Love.”

Real Christmas miracles can happen, bringing hope to those who need it most, particularly children. Look no farther than the remote Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in north-central South Dakota. While Christmas should be a glorious holiday for children everywhere, families here simply cannot stretch their budgets to cover holiday gifts. This is one of the poorest regions in the United States, with an unemployment rate hovering around 75 percent, and roughly 60 percent of households with children under the age of 18 falling below the poverty level.

That means far too many deserving children likely would have no Christmas at all, on a day that should be full of such shining promise — if it weren’t for the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte. Last year, this grassroots, not-for-profit youth organization made sure that 1,200 children in 19 reservation communities received personalized gifts from their “Dear Santa” letters, as well as much-needed winter clothing. This year, it hopes to serve 1,500.

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2014 Christmas Toy Drive: How to Help

There are several ways you can help CRYP reach its goal of serving 1,500 children during the 2014 Christmas Toy Drive, from donating funds and toys, to sponsoring a “Dear Santa” letter, to providing supplies, to volunteering your time.

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    CYRP Hosts 130 Guests, Honors Eight Interns at Community Harvest Festival Dinner

CYRP Hosts 130 Guests, Honors Eight Interns at Community Harvest Festival Dinner

On Wednesday, September 24, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® hosted 130 guests at its 2nd annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner. Held in the Cokata Wiconi teen center, this community-wide celebration of the 2-acre Winyan Toka Win garden and 2014 growing season included a bountiful, free community meal and a special ceremony to honor eight former teen interns.

On the menu for this year’s event: Squish Squash Lasagna; roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots; a local roast with carrots, onions and potatoes; beans; garden salad; cauliflower cheese soup; Harvest Delight; jalapeño cornbread; apple crisp, and pumpkin pie. According to Ryan Devlin, CRYP’s sustainable agriculture manager, staff incorporated more than 200 pounds of fresh produce from the naturally grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free garden into the meal.“We used our own cauliflower, carrots, onions, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, squash and pumpkins,” he reported. “It was a lot.”

During the evening’s festivities, staff and volunteers at the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project held various sporting events for children and gave away four raffle prizes that included two pumpkins and two gift baskets. Local elder Carmelita Eagle Chasing provided the prayer for this special community evening.

A particular highlight was the honoring ceremony for CRYP’s teen interns. During the summer months, 17 interns worked in the Winyan Toka Win garden, and 16 interns were devoted to the youth project’s social enterprises; eight of the former interns were on hand Wednesday evening to accept certificates of completion, along with certificates recognizing their participation in various workshops.

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    Fall Harvest Kicks Into High Gear with “Veggie of the Week” and Community Harvest Festival Dinner

Fall Harvest Kicks Into High Gear with “Veggie of the Week” and Community Harvest Festival Dinner

Fall has arrived on the Cheyenne River reservation in north-central South Dakota, which means CRYP staff and volunteers have been hard at work… harvesting, harvesting, harvesting. And that has kicked the “Veggie of the Week” program into high gear, according to Ryan Devlin, CRYP’s sustainable agriculture manager.

“For the last two weeks, the focus of our garden harvest has been tomatoes,” he reported. “We’ve harvested more than 500 pounds of beefsteak, roma, and cherry tomatoes for sale in our weekly Leading Lady Farmers Market and for processing in our commercial kitchen. Hundreds of fresh garden tomatoes have been sold through the farmers market, and salsa production is in full swing.”

This week, the staff’s focus has been on today’s 2nd annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner. Winter squash, pumpkins, and Brussels sprouts will be the highlights of this eagerly anticipated community event, which celebrates the garden and this year’s growing season. The dinner is open free to the public, and staff will share special recipes for Squish Squash Lasagna, roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots, Harvest Delight, and more.

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    Sustainable Agriculture Programs Fuel the Keya Cafe, Keya Gift Shop, and Teen Internships

Sustainable Agriculture Programs Fuel the Keya Cafe, Keya Gift Shop, and Teen Internships

For nearly 15 years, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has tended a 2-acre, naturally grown garden at its campus in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. What started as a labor of love for Executive Director Julie Garreau has turned into so much more; today, the Winyan Toka Win garden (“Leading Lady” in Lakota) lies at the beating heart of the 25-year-old youth organization’s robust sustainable agriculture initiatives.

Not only is fresh produce from the non-GMO, pesticide-free garden incorporated into youth meals and snacks, youth programming, and community events such as canning classes and the weekly Leading Lady Farmers Market, it furnishes nutritious, homegrown foods for CRYP’s Keya Café and Keya Gift Shop. And, it provides the foundation for a new internship program that welcomed 33 teens to the youth project staff during the summer months.

Garreau said CRYP’s sustainable agriculture initiatives are designed to serve as classrooms for young people. They’re also intended to make the Cokata Wiconi teen center a true community gathering place for the Cheyenne River community, as it always was meant to be.

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    CRYP Offers Discount on Family Services Memberships, Starting October 1

CRYP Offers Discount on Family Services Memberships, Starting October 1

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it will offer a discount on all Family Services annual memberships starting on Wednesday, October 1. The discount, which CRYP will offer until October 31, will apply to new applications and renewals; the memberships are valid from October 1, 2014 until September 30, 2015.

Normally, an annual membership is priced at $30 per year. During the discount period, a Cheyenne River family can join the Family Services program for $25, and that one-time payment will cover all members of that family for the entire year. Memberships are available to anyone who lives on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, not just those who live in the city of Eagle Butte.

“We’re hoping that all of our current families renew their Family Services memberships, and that more new families sign up for the program,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “It’s the perfect time, because our annual Christmas Toy Drive is right around the corner. Anyone enrolling or renewing for 2015 is eligible to participate.”

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    2nd Annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner Scheduled for Sept. 24

2nd Annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner Scheduled for Sept. 24

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is preparing to host its 2nd annual Community Harvest Festival Dinner on Wednesday, September 24 at the Cokata Wiconi teen center in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. A community-wide celebration of a bountiful season in the 2-acre Winyan Toka Win garden, the Harvest Festival meal is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. and is open free to the public.

The evening’s festivities will include a large-scale community feed, games, and a free raffle for all guests. The highlight, of course, will be the menu.

“The Harvest Festival Dinner will feature plenty of items from our naturally grown, non-GMO, pesticide-free garden,” said Ryan Devlin, CRYP’s sustainable agriculture manager. “The menu will include soups, salads, roasts, pies and much more.”

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    Rapid City Event Cancelled Due to Weather; CRYP Invites Supporters to Attend Formal Art Park Dedication on Sept. 15

Rapid City Event Cancelled Due to Weather; CRYP Invites Supporters to Attend Formal Art Park Dedication on Sept. 15

Unfortunately, due to inclement weather expected in the Rapid City area today, the Art Alley mural-painting event in support of CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park has been cancelled. Instead, CRYP is inviting media partners, supporters and community members to attend the formal park dedication ceremony at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, September 15. On hand will be Rapid City graffiti artist Aaron “AMP” Pearcy, who will paint alongside Cheyenne River youth, and Sara Johnson Levy from the Rapid City-based arts organization About This Life Inc.

Waniyetu Wowapi means “Winter Count” in the Lakota language. To read the full, original press release about the new art park, click here.

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Veggies of the Week: Eggplants and Sweet Corn

CRYP staff and volunteers showcased eggplants as the Veggie of the Week at the Leading Lady Farmers Market on Friday, September 5. According to Ryan Devlin, the youth project’s sustainable agriculture manager, the featured veggie did well.

“Our teen and youth centers were closed last week, so we weren’t using the vegetables in programming, meals or snacks, but we harvested 15 pounds of eggplants and sold them at the market on Friday,” he reported. “Our staff also handed out the recipe of the week, which was eggplant with garlic sauce.”

This week’s Veggie of the Week: sweet corn!

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    Graffiti Artists Converge on Rapid City’s Art Alley to Support Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, Which Will be Formally Dedicated on September 15

Graffiti Artists Converge on Rapid City’s Art Alley to Support Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, Which Will be Formally Dedicated on September 15

This Thursday in Rapid City’s Art Alley, six graffiti artists will join together to paint a mural in support of the brand-new, innovative art park at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® campus in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. According to Sara Johnson Levy of About This Life Inc., the organization responsible for the Art Alley mural project, the artists will paint together from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, September 11.

About This Life’s Aaron “AMP” Pearcy and the Dahl Fine Art Center’s Tyler “Siamese” Read are two of the artists who will be working on paintings that are intended to raise both awareness and funding for the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization’s art park, which has been christened Waniyetu Wowapi — “Winter Count” in the Lakota language. The Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park will be formally dedicated at 3 p.m. on Monday, September 15 at the CRYP campus on East Lincoln Street.

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