The Cheyenne River Youth Project® announced today that it has received a $24,000 grant from the Richmond, Virginia-based Child Fund International. These funds will allow the nearly 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization to develop and carry out the yearlong “Just Read!” project, a series of youth reading initiatives on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.
According to CRYP staff, “Just Read!” is a critical project for Cheyenne River’s children, who are among the poorest and most marginalized in the country. They have little access to books at home or through public libraries, and they lack opportunities to read outside of school. Far too many cannot read at grade level.
“Many parents here lack awareness of the importance of reading to children,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “They also lack confidence, particularly those who have low literacy skills or who are English-language learners themselves, which results in poor educational performance among their children early on and, eventually, a disproportionate drop-out rate.”