The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its Keya (Turtle) Cafe will close for the season this Friday, Aug. 18. As a signature component of the nonprofit youth organization’s social enterprise initiatives, the cafe will continue to offer catering services and serve as a hands-on classroom for teen interns through the winter months; it will reopen to the public in April 2018.

“We’re inviting our community members and any guests who might be passing through Cheyenne River to visit the Keya Cafe this week,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Not only do we want to connect with as many friends and neighbors as possible, those who enjoy meals, coffee drinks and homemade baked goods with us also are directly supporting our youth programming and our ongoing mission in this community.”

CRYP’s homemade jams, jellies and other items will still be available through its Keya Gift Shop year round. And, fresh produce will continue to be available at the Leading Lady Farmers Market through the remainder of the growing season (call 605-964-8200 for the latest schedule).

Since it opened its doors nearly 30 years ago, CRYP has remained dedicated with providing young people on South Dakota’s remote Cheyenne River Lakota reservation with access to a more secure and vibrant future. According to Garreau, this means providing them with opportunities and resources they can rely on, and social enterprise is a key piece of the puzzle.

“We want our community and our friends across the country to understand that spending money in our cafe, in our Keya Gift Shop or at our Leading Lady Farmers Market means so much more than simply patronizing a local business,” she explained. “Your support helps us develop sustainable revenue streams so we can continue to offer our programs and services into the future. Perhaps even more significantly, however, it allows us to offer valuable internship opportunities to our teenagers.”

CRYP currently offers innovative social enterprise, sustainable agriculture, art and wellness internships to local youth. The social enterprise internship allows teens to learn critical job and life skills, receive essential training and certifications, and gain valuable work experience that will serve them well as they enter the job market. It also supports them as they pursue holistic wellness and healing, and strengthen their connection to their Lakota heritage and values.

“Our social enterprises are a direct result of listening to Cheyenne River’s young people, who have been very clear about what they want from us,” Garreau says. “They understand that their lives are challenged by poverty, and that it can be different. They understand there is more to life than the struggles poverty presents, and they understand that we are a vital support system for them. When you support the Keya Cafe, you are helping us provide the essential learning opportunities, tools and support our young people need.

“When you visit the cafe, you’ll meet our teen interns, who are serving as baristas, staffing a fully equipped commercial kitchen, operating the cash registers, creating the product displays, conducting inventory, and managing all aspects of customer service,” she continued. “The Keya Cafe is a dining experience that allows customers to play an active role in supporting them as they strive for the brighter future they so richly deserve.”

To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.