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The Main Youth Center

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    CRYP Will Host Annual Youth and Teen Christmas Parties on Dec. 5-6

CRYP Will Host Annual Youth and Teen Christmas Parties on Dec. 5-6

Next week, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will host its annual Christmas parties at The Main youth center and the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Children ages 4 to 12 are welcome to attend festivities at The Main on Monday, Dec. 5, and teens ages 13-18 are invited to the Cokata Wiconi bash on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

CRYP staff chose the theme “The Night Before Christmas” for the children’s party, which runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5. Guests will enjoy a dinner of chicken noodle soup with cake for dessert, a variety of games and activities, a coloring contest, and seasonal treats such as candy bags, hot chocolate with marshmallows, Grinch punch and holiday “puppy chow.”

The next night, teens will converge on Cokata Wiconi for their party, which is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. In addition to featuring a movie and dinner, this sports-themed extravaganza will include a basketball three-on-three tournament and three-point content, a ping pong tournament, and a foosball tournament.

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    CRYP is a Finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund

CRYP is a Finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it is a finalist for ArtPlace America’s National Creative Placemaking Fund. The nonprofit, grassroots youth organization is one of just 80 projects to be selected from a pool of nearly 1,400 applications.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking—projects in which art plays an intention and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, this focus aligns well with the youth project’s own mission on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation.

“We have always believed strongly in a holistic approach to individual wellness and community development,” Garreau explained. “We also know that solutions to local challenges must be rooted in the local community. They must be culturally appropriate and relevant, and they must take into account that community’s unique challenges and opportunities.”

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    CRYP Hosts “Cooking with Commodities,” Prepares to Launch Spring Bike Club

CRYP Hosts “Cooking with Commodities,” Prepares to Launch Spring Bike Club

In keeping with its ongoing commitment to holistic youth wellness, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® is developing engaging new programming that it hopes will inspire young people on the remote Cheyenne River Lakota reservation to live healthier, more vibrant lives. Teens recently took part in an ambitious “Cooking with Commodities” class at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, and preparations are under way for the Spring Bike Club at The Main youth center.

“Our children aren’t going to be able to make better choices when it comes to their nutrition and physical activity if we don’t show them how,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s executive director. “We need to demonstrate how to make those choices, and how to incorporate good decision-making into daily life.”

Through “Cooking with Commodities,” teen chefs learned how to create a healthy meal with the commodity foods Cheyenne River families typically receive. The class took place on Wednesday, March 23, in CRYP’s Keya (Turtle) Cafe.

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Spring “Book2Movie” Club Starts April 5

On Tuesday, April 5, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® will kick off its seven-week Spring Book2Movie Club at the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center and The Main youth center. Club members will meet in the Cokata Wiconi and Main libraries every Tuesday and Thursday in April, May and June.

Participants ages 13-18 will read three novels from a selection of banned books that were made into movies, while children ages 4-12 will read two popular children’s books that also became films (staff members will help the youngest children). Each book will conclude with a special finale celebration.

On deck for the teens: Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” and Roald Dahl’s “The BFG.” At The Main, younger children will enjoy Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” as staff members read the books aloud.

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February is “Heart Health Month” at CRYP

February is “Heart Health Month” at the Cheyenne River Youth Project®, and the 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization’s staff has been hard at work organizing youth programming that has a special focus on diabetes prevention. It’s a cause close to staff members’ hearts, as the numbers are truly frightening; diabetes has reached epidemic proportions.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Indian Health Service, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 2.2 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Thirty percent of the indigenous population in this country has pre-diabetes, and of those who already have it, 95 percent have type 2 diabetes. What’s even more frightening: There was a 68 percent increase in diabetes from 1994 to 2004 among native youth ages 15 to 19. Half of Cheyenne River’s population is under 18, and 30 to 40 percent of those young people have or are at risk for developing diabetes.

“This is a huge issue for us,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “The children born here since 2000 have a life expectancy that’s shorter than their parents’ or grandparents.’ Many of these kids already have health issues, some as young as 8 to 10 years old.”

While this is a health disaster for native communities, most of the risk factors are socio-cultural and environmental. That means diabetes is preventable.

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    CRYP Prepares for Annual Holiday Parties, Seeks Donors for 400+ “Dear Santa” Letters

CRYP Prepares for Annual Holiday Parties, Seeks Donors for 400+ “Dear Santa” Letters

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us, which means the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has just one month left to fulfill the Christmas wishes of 1,500 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. More than 1,000 letters have already been adopted by generous supporters, yet more remains to be done.

“We still have more than 400 ‘Dear Santa’ letters that need to be adopted,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “That means we still need to take care of 400 children who wrote heartfelt letters in the hope that Santa Claus would bring a little extra happiness and magic to their homes this Christmas.

“Supporters who wish to join our Christmas Toy Drive efforts can contact us directly to get their Santa letters,” she continued. “Or, if they would prefer to contribute funds, they can donate via our website. We’re happy to do the shopping on our end to make sure Santa comes to these deserving kids.”

Christmas is a big deal on the CRYP calendar. This year’s toy drive geared up in late summer, and in just a matter of days, it will become an around-the-clock race as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day grow ever nearer. But first, CRYP will host its eagerly anticipated, annual holiday parties for the 4- to 12-year-olds at The Main youth center and the teenagers at the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center.

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Main University’s Fall Semester Starts This Monday

On Monday, September 28, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, is launching its fall semester of Main University, one of the not-for-profit youth organization’s most popular and enduring programs. Recipient of a “Champion for Children” award from the South Dakota Coalition for Children, Main University is designed for 4- to 12-year-olds who attend The Main youth center; it was founded by former long-term volunteer Tracie Farrell in 2002.

Main University allows participants to take short courses that mimic those offered in a college setting, giving Cheyenne River children a chance to study subjects that may not be offered in school. This fall, the CRYP staff has created lesson plans for four hourlong courses: Baking, Collage, Beadwork, and Stenciling & Painting.

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CRYP Announces October Programming, Including Halloween Fun

As the calendar officially turns to autumn, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced its teen and youth programming for the month of October. The roster of special events and activities includes movies, native arts, academic courses, sports, games, food and treats, and of course CRYP’s celebrated annual Haunted House and Ghoul-A-Grams.

At The Main youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds, the fall semester of Main University will be in full swing starting Monday, September 28. One of the 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth projects most popular and enduring programs, Main University was founded by long-term volunteer Tracie Farrell in 2002 and is a recipient of a “Champion for Children” award from the South Dakota Coalition for Children.

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September Hall of Fame: Thomas Lucero

For the first time, we’re inducting a young person from The Main youth center into our CRYP Hall of Fame. His name is Thomas Lucero. This bright, curious 11-year-old started coming to The Main last fall.

Thomas says he enjoys The Main’s playground and the full-size gymnasium at the next-door Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center, but the real draw has been Main University. He participated twice — and he has been named valedictorian twice.

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CRYP Announces September Youth & Teen Programming

School is back in session, and the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has resumed its regular after-school and weekend hours at the Cokata Wiconi (“Center of Life”) teen center and The Main youth center. It also has announced its eagerly anticipated teen and youth programming for the month of September.

In addition to its Sept. 21-25 “Family Week” programming, CRYP also is kicking off its Fall Movie Nights, Midnight Basketball, Junior Midnight Basketball and Main University (diplomas pictured here) this month.

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