605-964-8200|lakotayouth@gmail.com

Childhood Obesity

CRYP Receives USDA Grant to Support Tribal Food Sovereignty

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has partnered with the Cheyenne River Youth Project with a $20,000 grant to advance the growth and sustainability of the organization’s Winyan Toka Win (“Leading Lady”)  Garden and the economic development enterprises it supports on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, which is classified as a “food desert” community by the government. The grant initiatives include assisting in the development of food preservation, as well as providing the foundation for the Farmers’ Market and assisting with its small businesses, namely the CRYP gift shop and Keya (Turtle) Cafe.

Each year, Winyan Toka Win – a two-acre, non-GMO garden that is planted and managed by local youth and teens – produces over 10,000 pounds of fresh produce, including several varieties of beans, corn, squash, peppers, zucchini, carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, eggplant, lettuce, rhubarb, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, all of which are naturally grown. The garden provides fresh produce for CRYP youth facilities and serves as a site for educating youth and community members about Native food systems.

The grant will go toward purchasing equipment essential to the goals and objectives of CRYP and the Winyan Toka Win Garden, including an upright freezer, a commercial mixer, a point of sale cash register system, a kitchen grill and furniture for the Farmers’ Market and cafe.

“At first glance this project may appear as a grant for food processing. But it is so much more,” said Elsie Meeks, South Dakota State Director of Rural Development for the USDA. “It is about teaching teens about gardening and processing the food they grow themselves. The teens learn important skills and work ethic and while they are learning these skills they also are being taught lessons around financial literacy. We are so pleased to lend support to CRYP.”

To share their knowledge, CRYP also collaborates with local and regional resources to provide workshops to community members on topics including; Starting/Expanding Your Garden, Heirloom Seeds, Water Conservation, Drying and Canning 101, etc. Additionally, CRYP offers courses on entrepreneurship and financial management to youth and community members providing them with the skills that will allow them to transform their product (produce, craft, art, baked goods) into a business opportunity, while gaining knowledge on budgeting and investing their income.

“One of the most important things tribes can do for themselves is to invest in growing and maintaining their own Native food sovereignty,” says Julie Garreau, executive director of CRYP. “Our kids are invested in this process from the beginning of the growing season, by weeding, seeding, watering and caring for the Winyan Toka Win Garden so that they see where food comes from and that this is a life skill that they can use to feed themselves and their community. We are proud of Winyan Toka Win and the support from the USDA and we appreciate all of the kids who work so hard to make this garden happen every single year.”

For more information on the Winyan Toka Win Garden and its programs please contact Ryan Devlin at sustainableag.cryp@gmail.com or Tammy Eagle Hunter at tammy.cryp@gmail.com. You can also follow us on Facebook at https://facebook.com/lakotayouth; www.twitter.com/lakotayouth or at www.lakotayouth.org.

Founded in 1988, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities, ensuring strong, self-sufficient families and communities. Today, CRYP provides a wide variety of programs and services to the community, covering nearly 3 million acres in South Dakota.

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CRYP to Kick-Off Midnight Basketball Tourney and Summer Wellness Programs

As a part of its mission to promote Native kids’ health and fitness, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is launching its annual Midnight Basketball and Summer Wellness Programs beginning Friday, May 30, 2014. In its 18th year, the drug- and alcohol-free events will be open to teens ages 13-18 through the summer in an environment that offers fitness, fun and friendship for Cheyenne River youth to help combat childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes that is rampant in many Native communities.

Midnight Basketball begins Friday, May 30th with open-run basketball tournaments, refreshments, prizes, and peer interaction in a positive environment. It runs from 9:00 pm until 1:00 am. Teens are required to sign in and sign out, not able to return once they leave. They are given a 15-minute grace period to return home after they leave our facilities.

Additionally, the Summer Wellness Program will also begin the first week of June with a Summer Sports Clinic. Basketball camp begins the first week of June, offering two sessions to two different groups, ages 8-12 and 13-18. A T-ball/Softball Camp starts the following week; a Rubberball Ruckus Camp the third week; and a Bicycling Club kicking off the last week of June. Regular Fitness Challenges and Fitness Room Activities will continue throughout June. Along with the Gym being open on a daily basis throughout the week.

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Tammy Eagle Hunter, youth programs coordinator for CRYP, says the event provides a safe and healthy environment for kids in the Cheyenne River community to spend their Friday evenings during the summer.

“Midnight Basketball was created in 1996 as the brainchild of a former volunteer who recognized the tribal curfew of 10:00 p.m.,” says Eagle Hunter. “It was created as a safe alternative to keep teenagers indoors and respectful of the 10:00 curfew and has since become a staple of local teenage culture.”

Officials say that Midnight Basketball draws nearly 250 teens every Friday night and that juvenile crime rates decrease in the community. Sponsors of the events include the Notah Begay Foundation (NB3), N7, the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe TECA program and DARE, who partner with CRYP to make activities like these possible.  CRYP also welcomes any parents and community members to come volunteer as referee’s and to help supervise youth.

“Midnight basketball is fun,” says CRYP youth Trey Bad Warrior. “It gives kids a chance to play a sport they really love for a good 4-5 hours!”

“Its really the only thing to do in town,” agrees Wyatt Jewett. “I like it because the teen center is open longer, lots of people come and since ball is life, it’s just fun to play till after midnight.”

Participants will also enjoy a Midnight Breakfast provided by the CRYP before they return home that evening. Midnight Basketball will be held every Friday throughout the summer months.

For more info, parents, guardians and teens can contact Tammy Eagle Hunter at 605-964-8200 to answer any questions they may have or they are welcome to stop in and visit with a staff member about the event. Additionally, follow us at https://www.facebook.com/lakotayouth and www.twitter.com/lakotayouth for updates and details.

Founded in 1988, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities, ensuring strong, self-sufficient families and communities. Today, CRYP provides a wide variety of programs and services to the community, covering nearly 3 million acres in  South Dakota. To learn more about CRYP, visit www.lakotayouth.org.

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