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Yearly Archives: 2015

  • Santa Thank-You Letter
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    PLEASE HELP: 300+ “Dear Santa” Letters Remain to be Adopted

PLEASE HELP: 300+ “Dear Santa” Letters Remain to be Adopted

Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, which means the clock is winding down for Cheyenne River Youth Project® staff and volunteers as they prepare to bring Santa Claus to 1,500 children across South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre reservation. More than 300 “Dear Santa” letters remain to be adopted — but it’s not too late to help.

“All you need to do is contact us for a ‘Dear Santa’ letter, which will contain a child’s wish list for Santa and his or her shoe and clothing sizes,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Or, if you would prefer to contribute funds, you can donate through our website at lakotayouth.org. We’ll do the shopping on our end, ensuring that every child who wrote to Santa will have something special underneath the tree this year.

“Donated funds also will help us feed and house the many volunteers from around the world who come to support us during the Christmas Toy Drive,” she continued. “We couldn’t do it without their help, so we are grateful for any financial support we can get.”

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“Home: Cheyenne River Lakota Nation” is Now Available

Four years ago, a Colorado-based creative team embarked on a fine-art photography project designed to celebrate life on north-central South Dakota’s remote Cheyenne River reservation, home to four bands of the Lakota nation. Richard and Heather Steinberger, a photographer-writer team from Bailey, Colorado, joined forces with Evergreen, Colorado-based photographer Matt Normann to develop a coffee table book that would introduce Cheyenne River’s landscapes, flora and fauna, communities, traditions and residents to a larger audience.

That book is now available to the public through Amazon, and the creative team has announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from book sales will benefit the 27-year-old, not-for-profit Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte. CRYP will use those funds to meet needs wherever they are greatest, from youth programming to family services.


“We’ve always strongly believed that Cheyenne River’s story is one of hope, not one of despair,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “So when Heather, Richard and Matt first approached us with the idea for this project, we were very excited. Our community really got behind them, and the end result is a beautiful book that really was a team effort. We’re all very proud of it.”

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  • Youth artists
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    CRYP Receives $25K Grant from the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation

CRYP Receives $25K Grant from the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it has received a $25,000 grant for 2016 from the Red Lodge, Montana-based O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation. The 27-year-old, not-for-profit, grassroots youth organization will use this much-needed funding to support daily operations at its large East Lincoln Street campus and to continue expanding its culturally sensitive, enduring and engaging youth programs throughout the year to come.

The O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation’s General Fund supports organizations that “help provide a bridge to a life of greater opportunity to low-income, at-risk, underserved youth and children.” In particular, the foundation focuses on assistance that is holistic and long-lasting, and that addresses the significant factors that impede success in education and life. According to Amy Hyfield, the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation’s executive director, CRYP was a perfect fit.

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  • Christmas Toy Drive 2
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    It’s #GivingTuesday: Support Our Christmas Toy Drive Today!

It’s #GivingTuesday: Support Our Christmas Toy Drive Today!

Today is December 1, and that means just five days until Chanukah, 24 days until the Christmas holiday, and 30 days until the end of the year. This particular Tuesday also is #GivingTuesday.

Today, individuals, students, families, businesses, community organizations and charities around the world will come together for one common purpose: to to give back. It’s a global celebration – and a new tradition of kindness, generosity and good will toward others.

Today, consider supporting the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, which has just three weeks left to fulfill the Christmas wishes of 1,500 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation. More than 1,000 letters in the 2015 Christmas Toy Drive have already been adopted by generous supporters, yet more than 400 “Dear Santa” letters still need sponsors.

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Teen Interns Experience Weekend Art Retreat in Minneapolis

On November 13-15, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® took its second cohort of art interns on a weekend art retreat that gave the eight teenagers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the Minneapolis art scene. CRYP staff members accompanied Xzanndria Norris, 15, Jaymalee Turning Heart, 14, Tori Jensen, 16, Ranger Gunville, 16, Nathanial Fast Wolf, 13, Donovan Moran, 13, Maxwell Peacock, 14, and Edward Norris Jr., 13, on their two-day adventure in the big city, which is home to two of their art instructors.

After arriving at the Hyatt and enjoying a movie night on Friday, the teens embarked on their art tour Saturday morning with a two-hour stop at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, followed by beverages and lunch at Espresso Royale and Uncle Frankie’s Hot Dogs. During the afternoon hours, they had the chance to tour the art studio belonging to Peyton Scott Russell, their lead art instructor, and tour some of the city’s most famous murals with Peyton and with Biafra, also a CRYP guest instructor.

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  • Nutcracker Party 2
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    CRYP Prepares for Annual Holiday Parties, Seeks Donors for 400+ “Dear Santa” Letters

CRYP Prepares for Annual Holiday Parties, Seeks Donors for 400+ “Dear Santa” Letters

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, which means the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has just one month left to fulfill the Christmas wishes of 1,500 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. More than 1,000 letters have already been adopted by generous supporters, yet more remains to be done.

“We still have more than 400 ‘Dear Santa’ letters that need to be adopted,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “That means we still need to take care of 400 children who wrote heartfelt letters in the hope that Santa Claus would bring a little extra happiness and magic to their homes this Christmas.

“Supporters who wish to join our Christmas Toy Drive efforts can contact us directly to get their Santa letters,” she continued. “Or, if they would prefer to contribute funds, they can donate via our website. We’re happy to do the shopping on our end to make sure Santa comes to these deserving kids.”

Christmas is a big deal on the CRYP calendar. This year’s toy drive geared up in late summer, and in just a matter of days, it will become an around-the-clock race as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day grow ever nearer. But first, CRYP will host its eagerly anticipated, annual holiday parties for the 4- to 12-year-olds at The Main youth center and the teenagers at the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center.

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  • Craft Fair 2
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    Holiday Artists’ Market Will Include Tree Raffle, Book Fair, Student Art & More!

Holiday Artists’ Market Will Include Tree Raffle, Book Fair, Student Art & More!

On Saturday, November 21, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will do more than host its 5th annual Holiday Artists’ Market. It will unveil its first-ever Festival of Trees, and Cheyenne River community members may purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win one of five Christmas trees decorated by local businesses and artisans.

The market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center’s gymnasium. It will feature community artisans, craftspeople, chefs and bakers from around the community, as well as wares from CRYP’s Keya Gift Shop. In addition, the Keya Cafe & Coffeeshop will be open to the public throughout market day, with special menu items and baked goods; CRYP will be taking orders for holiday goodie boxes; and Santa Claus will spend the afternoon meeting children and posing for photographs.

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November Partner of the Month: Diabetes Action

For the past 25 years, Diabetes Action Research and Education has made it a priority to help reduce the extremely high incidence of diabetes in native communities, especially in South Dakota. In 1993, Diabetes Action helped fund construction of the first Indian-owned and managed kidney dialysis centers on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; then, in 1998, it turned its attention northward, to the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

That year, Diabetes Action provided much-needed funding for the original Billy Mills Youth Center (affectionately called The Main) at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® campus, and a long-term, steadfast partnership was born.

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November Hall of Fame: Nathanial Fast Wolf

Nathanial Fast Wolf, 14, is a member of CRYP’s second cohort of Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Interns. He also served as a Sustainable Agriculture Intern in 2014, spending the summer in the Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) organic garden, and he’s a regular participant in the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) Book Club.

Nathanial says Book Club has been, by far, his favorite activity at CRYP. He’s completed two sessions to date, reading a total of eight novels, earning a new Kindle, and hiking Hinhan Kaga (Harney Peak) in March 2015 as part of a special session focused on Native American literature.

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  • CRYP Staff
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    CRYP Wins 2015 Bush Prize & Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter Grant

CRYP Wins 2015 Bush Prize & Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter Grant

It’s been a huge week for the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, which has served children and families on South Dakota’s remote 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation for 27 years. The not-for-profit, grassroots youth organization has won the Bush Foundation’s 2015 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, and a Wellmark Foundation’s Community Kickstarter grant that will allow it to build the Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Walk.

CRYP is one of eight organizations to receive the 2015 Bush Prize. Along with its fellow award winners, it will receive an unrestricted grant equal to 25 percent of the organization’s budget for the previous fiscal year.

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