The Cheyenne River Youth Project®: Developing Potential

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® (CRYP), established in 1988, has become an essential youth and family services organization, integral to the Cheyenne River Reservation’s support system, in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Our organization has become vital not only because we provide innovative youth programming and family services, but also because we are a grassroots initiative tailored to meet the needs of our community. With over 369 family memberships reservation wide, CRYP represents local problem solving for critical community concerns.

CRYP is a well-rounded service organization comprised of four major components; the Main Youth Center, the Family Services Program, the 2 1/2 acre Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”) Garden and the Ċokata Wiċoni (“Center of Life”) Teen Center. These four components create a collaborative synergy and represent the holistic approach of the Cheyenne River Youth Project® toward assessing and meeting community needs.

Poverty has a profound effect on family structure and self-esteem, which contributes to a variety of social ills. Located in one of the nations 5 poorest counties, CRYP serves the community by offering youth programs and family services that foster healthy choices and life practices, as well as provide immediate relief and create opportunities for the future. Daily, we lay the groundwork for long-term solutions so that each program and/or service has a purposeful foundation and potential for longevity. Our vision also includes infrastructure to house our growth as we work to meet our community’s needs today and in the future CRYP has been recognized for its achievements locally, regionally and nationally, indicating that participants and supporters agree on its efficacy and importance. Executive director Julie Garreau has received several awards for her work with CRYP including the South Dakota Volunteer of the Year Award in 1991, the Presidential Points of Light Award in 1992, and the Garden Supply Company’s Garden Crusader Award in 2005. CRYP, as an organization, received the South Dakota Coalition for Children award in 2002.

Finally, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® appreciates the chance that it has been given to serve youth on Cheyenne River, providing the coping skills that will help them reach beyond the poverty, beyond the dysfunction, beyond the pervading sense of hopelessness that exists.