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.