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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Support Our “Homecoming Dress Drive!”

As October draws to a close, so does homecoming season for high school students across America. Spirit-week festivities and football-game revelry are long since ended, the toilet paper has been cleaned up from neighborhood trees and yards (well, mostly), and those prized dresses from The Big Night are back in bedroom closets. Perhaps they’ll be worn again. Perhaps not.

If not, just imagine those dresses bringing happiness to teenage girls who are seemingly a world away, on South Dakota’s remote 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is asking teenagers, and their parents, across the country to donate new or gently used homecoming dresses so they can become part of the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization’s annual Passion for Fashion program. The program takes place each spring at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center in Eagle Butte.

CRYP created Passion for Fashion in 2001, and it remains one of the project’s most popular and long-running programs. Its mission: to provide Cheyenne River teens with everything they need for a memorable prom night, while also fostering intergenerational exchange, bonding, self-esteem, and positive body image.

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Main University Begins November 3

On Monday, November 3, CRYP will launch its fall semester of Main University, one of the not-for-profit youth organization’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 The Main youth center; it was founded by former long-term volunteer Tracie Farrell in 2002.

Main University allows participants to take short courses that mimic those offered in a college setting. The courses give Cheyenne River children a chance to study subjects that may not be offered in school. The program uses language from higher education, such as “university,” “credits” and “valedictorian,” to familiarize students with their options in and after high school.

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  • Peyton's gray mural
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    Enter CRYP Raffle for a Chance to Win a Handmade Lakota Star Quilt!

Enter CRYP Raffle for a Chance to Win a Handmade Lakota Star Quilt!

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is launching its annual star quilt raffle this week, with two interesting twists. First, instead of raffling off a single quilt, the 25-year-old not-for-profit youth organization will have two on hand. And, next, proceeds will support CRYP’s brand-new Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park, which was just dedicated in September.

In this year’s Waniyetu Wowapi Star Quilt Raffle, ticket-holders will have a chance to win a distinctive, queen-size Lakota star quilt that will mimic a dramatic graffiti mural by acclaimed Minneapolis-based artist Peyton Scott Russell (see photo). Peyton, as the artist is known professionally, created the original piece of street art this year.

“Since the funds raised will support our new art park, we thought it would be a great idea to have the first quilt be inspired by the form of artistic expression that Waniyetu Wowapi celebrates,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Bonnie LeBeau, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member, will hand-craft the quilt. Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer donated the second quilt, and we’re deeply grateful to her for her support.”

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Volunteer with CRYP in 2015!

As the year winds down, staff members at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® have two major endeavors on their minds. One is the annual Christmas Toy Drive, a mammoth undertaking that brings holiday cheer to more than 1,200 children across the 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota’s remote West River country. The other is no less gargantuan: recruiting enough volunteers to keep the youth project’s East Lincoln Street campus running throughout the new year.

Most people may not be aware that CRYP relies heavily on volunteer support to keep its doors open, its programs running, and its services flowing to the Cheyenne River community.

“In the beginning, it likely was more obvious,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “When the youth project began in 1988 in a run-down former bar on Main Street, it was 100-percent volunteer-run. Although we’ve expanded to include The Main youth center, Cokata Wiconi teen center, Family Services, Winyan Toka Win garden, Keya Cafe and Coffeeshop, and full-time staff, we still depend on volunteer support. We simply couldn’t continue with our mission in the community without our volunteers.”

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2014 Halloween Programming Begins October 22

Next week, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will launch its 2014 Halloween programming, a series of events designed to bring thrills and fun to community members of all ages. This year’s activities, which kick off on Wednesday, October 22, will include a Halloween Carnival, a Scary Movie Marathon, CRYP’s annual Haunted House, and the eagerly anticipated Ghoul-A-Grams.

The Halloween Carnival and Masquerade Ball, scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday, October 22, will take place in the Cokata Wiconi teen center’s gymnasium. It’s open free to the public, and a signature highlight will be the 2014 Family Costume Contest.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing families attend the carnival together, and have fun together with their costumes,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “The contest will be exciting, because the winning family will get a free Family Services membership for a year.”

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  • Dedication 1
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    New Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park Formally Dedicated in September

New Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park Formally Dedicated in September

On Monday, September 15, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® formally dedicated the Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park at its East Lincoln Street campus in Eagle Butte. The innovative new park, whose name means “Winter Count” in the Lakota language, is a free, safe, public art space that will allow artists — residents and visitors alike — and community members to express their own unique voices and life experiences through graffiti art and traditional painting.

On hand for the dedication were documentarian Sara Johnson Levy and artist Aaron “Amp” Pearcy from About This Life Inc., a Rapid City, South Dakota-based organization dedicated to traveling around the world, using the arts to provide a source of hope and inspiration. While on site, Amp worked on a live piece for the park, deepening the impact of this special occasion; he painted side by side with local youth, who eagerly tackled the fresh outdoor canvases.

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  • Book2Movie Club 2014
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    CRYP Completes Third Session of Wowapi Olakholkichiyapi, the Teens’ Book-to-Movie Club

CRYP Completes Third Session of Wowapi Olakholkichiyapi, the Teens’ Book-to-Movie Club

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® recently completed its third session of Wowapi Olakholkichiyapi, the book-to-movie club for local teens. Launched on April 3, the club met on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi teen center in Eagle Butte.

The club began with 10 participants. During each club meeting, the teens would complete questionnaires about the book’s chapters and discuss the book in-depth. Once the group completed a book, the young people would get together to enjoy a pizza party and watch a related movie.

This year’s book’s included “The Business of Fancydancing” by Sherman Alexie, followed by the film “Dance Me Outside”; “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Greene, followed by a special incentive trip to Pierre to attend the movie’s opening night; “Tweak” by Nic Sheff, followed by the documentary “American Meth”; and “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton, followed by the film of the same name.

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