In recent years, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has garnered significant attention for innovative new initiatives like the RedCan graffiti jam, the Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute, and the teen internship program. Yet the nonprofit organization’s perhaps most significant efforts actually take place in the littlest building on campus — The Main youth center.
Since 1988, The Main has been a positive, safe place for 4- to 12-year-olds to enjoy healthy meals and snacks, do their homework and play with friends. Over the years, programming has expanded to allow them to explore their creativity through arts and crafts; learn more about nutrition, fitness and other forms of wellness; and strengthen their connection to the earth and to their own Lakota life ways through the Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden.
“The Main provides our first opportunity to reach Cheyenne River’s young people,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “It gives us a chance to demonstrate to our kids that they can trust us to be there for them when they need us, and to give them what they need. We deeply care about our little Main, because our roots lie in that building. It’s how we started nearly three decades ago, and thanks to what we’ve done there, we’re now serving our second generation of children.”