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    CRYP Encourages Lifelong Wellness Practices Through Teen Internships

CRYP Encourages Lifelong Wellness Practices Through Teen Internships

For nearly 30 years, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has been dedicated to building and nurturing healthy children through its innovative, resourceful youth programs. The launch of CRYP’S teen internship program at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center nearly three years ago took this vision to the next level.

Not only does CRYP offer teen wellness internships, it has designed wellness-oriented activities for all four cohorts, allowing the teen interns in the arts, social enterprise and sustainable agriculture to participate as well.

In the last four weeks, for example, CRYP has hosted Native Wellness training and physical assessments, comprehensive empowerment and team-building exercises, and cooking classes.

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April Hall of Fame: Marquis Aungie Jr.

Although we at the Cheyenne River Youth Project are immensely proud of our teen internship program and our burgeoning arts initiatives, we’ll never forget our roots. CRYP got its start nearly 30 years ago in a little youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds, and to this day, we are well aware that our impact on the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation’s youth begins here—and that “the little Main” makes a real and lasting difference in our kids’ lives.

Marquis Aungie Jr., 12, started coming to The Main about four years ago. He says his friends told him about the drop-in youth center, which offers nutritious meals and snacks, wellness activities, arts and crafts, a variety of clubs, and simply a safe place to play, study and spend time with friends.

“It sounded cool,” says the sixth-grader, who is in his last year at Cheyenne-Eagle Butte Upper Elementary School.


Marquis recently learned how to grow his own food through The Main’s Garden Club, and how to make healthy smoothies. Now, however, he’s looking forward. The next year will bring middle school and, as soon as he turns 13, admittance to Cokata Wiconi.

He says he can’t wait. The big draw? Cokata Wiconi’s full-size Morgan Yellowhead Gymnasium.

“I love basketball,” he says. “I want to be an NBA player one day, and I want to go to Chicago.”

Marquis, we have loved having you at The Main for so many years, and we can’t wait to welcome you to Cokata Wiconi. A whole new adventure is waiting for you.

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Sponsor a Birthday Celebration at The Main

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.”

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April CRYP Hall of Fame: Anthony Potter

Enrolled Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member Anthony Potter grew up in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, in the heart of the 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation. His house was just down the street from the original “Main” youth center, founded in 1988 in a defunct Main Street bar.

The Cheyenne River Youth Project’s original Main was an all-volunteer-run organization dedicated to providing 4- to 12-year-olds with a safe place to play, do homework and enjoy meals and snacks after school and on Saturdays. And Anthony says it definitely filled a need in the community.

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    2014 Christmas Toy Drive Serves 1,350 Children in 20 Communities

2014 Christmas Toy Drive Serves 1,350 Children in 20 Communities

In partnership with a broad range of individuals, schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® was once again able to bring Santa Claus to South Dakota’s 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation during the 2014 holiday season. (Check out our video here!)

Thanks to the overwhelming support of these invaluable partners, not to mention the hard work and dedication of a small army of volunteers, CRYP’s 2014 Christmas Toy Drive served 1,350 children in 20 communities. Their “Dear Santa” letters came from 325 families, regular attendees at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi teen center and The Main youth center, and children who live in local shelters and foster care.

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    November Partner of the Month: O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation

November Partner of the Month: O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation

As a grassroots, not-for-profit organization, the Cheyenne River Youth Project relies on a variety of organizational partners for support as it pursues its ongoing mission in the Cheyenne River community. To show our deep appreciation for all that these valued partners do for us, we’ve created a Partner of the Month initiative — and for November, that partner is the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation.

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CRYP Celebrates 25 Years, Launches New Endowment


The Cheyenne River Youth Project hosted its 25th Anniversary celebration on Saturday, launching a new endowment to ensure the permanent sustainability of the organization for decades to come. The event was attended by dozens of local community members, board members, current and former CRYP youth, community partners and tribal council members.

In her opening remarks, CRYP founder and executive director recounted the humble beginnings of the organization, which was started in a converted bar on Main Street in Eagle Butte, volunteering her time for 12 years to get an afterschool program off the ground. Soon, the program filled to capacity each day as a safe place for children to have a snack, read, finish their homework or participate in an activity.

“People in the community didn’t think we’d make it,” said Garreau. “They just knew we’d crash and burn. And they even told me they would find me a job if it didn’t make it. But we just kept going because we knew that we had to find a local solution to our needs, something that addressed the specific needs of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation. It was a measure of our sovereignty as a community that we create and sustain a program that met the needs and fulfilled our obligation to our children in ways that we feel are culturally appropriate and necessary. I believe in our sovereignty with all my heart.”

Today, CRYP has moved from its original location to a 60,000 square-foot facility which includes a full-sized indoor basketball court, the newly opened Keya Cafe, a gift shop with locally produced goods, a two-acre organic garden, a dance studio, computer rooms, a full-sized library, an art room and living quarters for volunteers. Its programming also features Passion for Fashion, a prom dress event for local teen girls, a Farmers Market, Main University, a Winter coat drive, literacy programs and wellness programs. Member families can also apply for heating and home repair assistance through CRYP’s Heat Match Program.

To commemorate the event, the organization launched the Cheyenne River Youth Project Endowment Fund with a goal of $25,000 to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the programs and services for decades to come.

For more information or to donate to the CRYP Endowment, please contact Julie Garreau at julie.cryp@gmail.com, or go to www.lakotayouth.org and click the donate button. You can also follow us on Facebook, https://facebook.com/lakotayouth and at 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. 


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CRYP’s ‘Keya Cafe’ is Now Open!


The Keya Cafe at CRYP is now open! Located inside the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center, the cafe offers a full range of coffee drinks, smoothies and beverages, as well as a full-service breakfast menu.

The cafe features locally-sourced ingredients and produce from CRYP’s two-acre organic garden and everything on the menu, including the pastries and granola, are made fresh, on-site every morning.

The Keya Cafe is an excellent venue for the produce from our garden and offers our community a new place to gather and eat breakfast,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “At the same time, it is providing local jobs, skills training and a sustainable source of income for our organization’s programs and services. We are proud to begin this new venture which all of us have worked so hard to bring to life.”

The cafe features coffee beverages, juices, smoothies, breakfast burritos, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, as well as homemade zucchini bread and banana bread, to name just a few delicious items on the menu.

Keya, which means “turtle” in the Lakota language, represents fertility, family and community. The Turtle, who lives in two worlds – on land and in water – also represents Native people, who live and work side by side with their neighbors in the world. Start-up funding for the cafe was provided by a grant from the John T. Vucurevich Foundation.

Additionally, the cafe will also sell Keya Cafe brand coffee beans and mugs for customers who may not live in Eagle Butte, but want to support the cafe through its retail sales.

The normal hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 7:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. for breakfast; 7:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Coffee shop will be open; Closed Sundays.

For more information on how to purchase specialty coffee beans, mugs and other CRYP products, please email keya.cryp@gmail.com. For updates and special offers, please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/keyacafecoffee.





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To celebrate 25 years of service to the community, the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP) will be hosting a reception and fine art photography show entitled, “Home: Cheyenne River,” featuring portraits of the community and creative writing from our children.

When: Saturday, January 25, 3:00 -7:00 p.m.
Where: Cokata Wiconi Teen Center in Eagle Butte, South Dakota

To commemorate its quarter-century milestone, CRYP will also be launching the Six Points-CRYP Endowment Fund to ensure the long term sustainability of the organization’s programming and services to our communities.

“It has been an honor and privilege to watch this organization grow from a small, grassroots after school program into a community center that serves so many needs in the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Through our partnerships and the support of thousands of donors, staff and volunteers, we have been able to expand and offer more opportunities than we could ever have imagined. We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge and thank all the people who have supported us in this remarkable journey.”

The art show will feature the images of photographers Richard Steinberger and Matt Normann and creative writing from Cheyenne River youth. The event will also include musical entertainment and poetry readings by some of our children, as well as youth activities.

For more information on the event, please contact Suzette Brewer at media.cryp@gmail.com, or follow us on Facebook, https://facebook.com/lakotayouth or 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. 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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