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Monthly Archives: December 2016

  • Toy Drive 9
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    It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

CRYP is reaching out to its supporters and friends this week in a final push to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, more than 400 “Dear Santa” letters remain to be adopted—with just five days left until Christmas.

Already, volunteers from across the United States and as far away as Ireland are converging on Santa’s Workshop at CRYP to sort and wrap thousands of gifts. These dedicated helpers work around the clock to ensure that each child will receive two or three gifts from his or her personal letter, as well as much-needed winter clothing and shoes.

The good news is that it’s not too late to help.

“At this point in December, there’s no question that donations are down over previous years,” Garreau said. “That being said, we know from experience that incredible things can happen in the last few days before the holiday.

“Supporters absolutely can contact us to adopt letters, if they would like to fulfill the children’s Christmas wishes and send the gifts to our campus in Eagle Butte,” she continued. “If it’s easier, however, simply click the ‘Donate’ button on our website and make an online contribution. It’s fully tax deductible, and we’ll do the shopping on our end to make sure all the children who wrote letters to Santa have the happy, joyful Christmas they so richly deserve.”

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Coming in 2017: The Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute

The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s eagerly anticipated Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute will fully take shape in the new year, thanks to just-announced funding from ArtPlace America’s 2016 National Creative Placemaking Fund. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization is one of just 29 projects chosen, from a field of nearly 1,400 applicants.

ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program —funding 2 percent of initial applications—that invests money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity will help drive community development change in the sectors of agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health, housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

“Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of arts, culture, and community-engaged design into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These grant recipients embody what this looks like at its most effective best,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and chair of the ArtPlace President’s Council. “The sheer volume of applications for these grants suggests the growing updraft of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation.”

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  • Santa Hugs
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    Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Help CRYP Bring Santa to Cheyenne River

Less than three weeks remain before Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. More than 1,600 children are eagerly awaiting his sleigh, hoping to receive the special gifts they shared with him in their Dear Santa letters.

Bringing Christmas to hundreds of families in 20 communities across the remote, 2.8-million reservation is a massive undertaking. It’s a lot of gifts. But the toy drive is about so much more than that. For too many Cheyenne River families, household budgets simply cannot stretch to cover winter clothes, much less holiday gifts and all the seasonal trimmings and trappings. That can take its toll on children here, who don’t understand why Christmas magic seems to belong to so many others, but not to them.

Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director, recalled witnessing a little boy turn down the opportunity to tell Santa Claus what he wanted for Christmas.

“He said, ‘Why should I? I’m not going to get it anyway. I ask for it every year,’” she said. “That broke my heart, to see a child without hope—to see him discount the possibility that he might receive something precious to him, and that he might experience a heartfelt wish coming true. That’s why we work so hard at CRYP during the holiday season. Our children often have to grow up way too fast due to circumstances beyond their control. On Christmas, at least for one day, they should get to celebrate the joy of just being a kid.”

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