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    Attention, Teens: Come to Midnight Basketball and Learn More About CRYP’s Internship Program!

Attention, Teens: Come to Midnight Basketball and Learn More About CRYP’s Internship Program!

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is inviting local youth to attend Midnight Basketball at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center on Friday, Feb. 24 and Thursday, Mar. 2. Not only will 13- to 18-year-olds have the always-welcome opportunity to play their favorite sport and hang out with friends, they’ll be able to learn more about the nonprofit youth organization’s innovative teen internship program.

On these two evenings, Midnight Basketball will incorporate a recruitment station where teens can get more information about upcoming internships in wellness, sustainable agriculture, social enterprise and the arts.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with kids who might not be fully aware of what we offer here,” said Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Through the internship program, teens can earn their own money, earn valuable certifications, and gain real-life job experience.”

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February Hall of Fame: Claudia Iron Hawk

The beating heart of the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center is its internship program. Created three years ago to provide Cheyenne River’s teens with opportunities to learn valuable job and life skills, the program now includes robust, innovative internships in sustainable agriculture, social enterprises, wellness and the arts.

Some teens gravitate to internships in just one area. Others, like Claudia Iron Hawk, are so inspired by what they’ve learned, they seek new opportunities at every turn. Claudia, 16, has already completed three sustainable agriculture internships, an arts internship focused on graffiti and street art, and a social enterprises internship, which involves operations in the youth project’s Keya (Turtle) Cafe and Keya Gift Shop.

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    It’s Not Just About the Prom: Support Passion for Fashion, and Help Lift Up Young Lakota Women

It’s Not Just About the Prom: Support Passion for Fashion, and Help Lift Up Young Lakota Women

A month remains to support the Cheyenne River Youth Project®’s 2017 Passion for Fashion event, which is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. The nonprofit youth project is asking its friends and supporters to make an in-kind or financial contribution so it can make sure Cheyenne River’s young women will have a prom night to remember.

It’s about so much more than the prom, however. Since its inception 16 years ago, Passion for Fashion has proven to be a powerful venue for building friendships, multigenerational relationships, and positive self-esteem.

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    CRYP Announces Dates and Artists for 3rd Annual RedCan, Launches Fundraising Campaign

CRYP Announces Dates and Artists for 3rd Annual RedCan, Launches Fundraising Campaign

It’s the new year, and RedCan is rising once again. With interest in Indian Country’s first and only invitational graffiti jam hotter than ever, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced the dates and featured artists for its 3rd annual RedCan—and has launched the fundraising campaign that will support this year’s event.

RedCan 2017 will take place from June 29 to July 1 at CRYP’s Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Art Park and at various sites across the city of Eagle Butte. Featured artists this year are Estria from Hawaii; East from Denver; Serval from Switzerland; Scribe from Kansas City, Missouri; Scape Martinez from San Francisco; Kazilla and ER from Miami; Dwayno Insano from Tucson, Arizona; and Biafra Inc., Cyfi and Wundr from Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

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    Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute Takes Shape; CRYP Seeks Artistic Director and Lakota Mentors/Teachers

Waniyetu Wowapi Lakota Arts Institute Takes Shape; CRYP Seeks Artistic Director and Lakota Mentors/Teachers

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® is moving ahead quickly with its plans for the innovative new Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Arts Institute. Not only has it embarked on a widespread search for a full-time artistic director to manage LAI operations and Lakota artists to serve as instructors and youth mentors, it is already hosting art classes focused on traditional Lakota crafts and is laying the groundwork for additional classes and camps.

The nonprofit youth organization has offered arts instruction to 4- to 12-year-olds throughout its nearly 30-year history, and to teens for the last decade. Now, thanks to grants from the ArtPlace America National Creative Placemaking Fund and NEA Our Town Technical Assistance, CRYP finally has the resources to realize its vision of a multidisciplinary, community-based arts institute at its Eagle Butte campus.

In the beginning, LAI will continue to support students in graffiti and street art education, a process that began more than two years ago with dedicated art classes and the inaugural RedCan graffiti jam. It also will teach traditional art skills, such as drawing and painting, and it will place a high priority on traditional Lakota arts.

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CRYP Launches Dress Drive for 2017 Passion for Fashion

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has officially launched its 2017 Dress Drive for Passion for Fashion. The nonprofit organization is asking its friends and supporters to donate everything from dresses to hair accessories so its young people can be ready for this spring’s high school prom.

On the surface, the prom is all about glamorous gowns and dashing tuxedos, fresh corsages and sparkling jewelry, popular music and lots of dancing. Underneath, however, this uniquely American rite of passage is about so much more—it’s a celebration of friendship, multigenerational bonding, and positive self-esteem.

Unfortunately, for too many teenagers on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation and in neighboring rural towns, this vision can seem far from reality. Their families cannot spare the significant funds necessary for the latest formal wear and all the accessories, nor is it feasible for them to make the three- to five-hour round trip required to go shopping in distant Pierre or Rapid City.

Executive Director Julie Garreau, Youth Programs Director Tammy Granados and the rest of the CRYP staff firmly believe that Cheyenne River’s youth should have the same exciting, memorable prom experiences as those enjoyed by teens across America. To provide that experience, the grassroots youth project created Passion for Fashion in 2001.

“At its heart, Passion for Fashion has much in common with our more well-known Christmas Toy Drive,” Garreau said. “In both cases, our young people are simply amazed to see the miracle that unfolds at Cokata Wiconi. They feel how treasured they are, and they come to realize how many people truly do care.”

The 17th annual Passion for Fashion event is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at Cokata Wiconi. For the ninth year in a row, it will feature a special theme.

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2017 Passion for Fashion: How to Help

If you would like to support the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s 2017 Dress Drive for Passion for Fashion, please considering contributing any of the following:

-New/Gently Used Formal Dresses (Sizes 4-26, especially sizes 16-26)
-Dress Accessories (Examples: Purses, Wraps, Scarves)
-Formal Shoes (especially sizes 9-12)
-Jewelry
-Hair Accessories & Care Products
-Facial, Manicure and Pedicure Supplies
-Makeup and Bath Sets
-Gift Cards
-Cash Donations

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    Keya Cafe to Temporarily Close Jan. 27, Reopen Seasonally in May with Exciting Updates

Keya Cafe to Temporarily Close Jan. 27, Reopen Seasonally in May with Exciting Updates

January 16th, 2017|By |Keya Cafe

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it will temporarily close its Keya (Turtle) Cafe at the end of this month, with the last day of regular service scheduled for Friday, Jan. 27. The nonprofit youth organization will devote the next few months to upgrading the cafe; it will host a grand reopening celebration in May, just in time for the busy summer season on the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation.

According to Molly Vetter, CRYP’s social enterprises manager, upgrades will include new equipment, an innovative menu, and a robust e-commerce option for those who wish to make online purchases from the Keya Cafe and Keya Gift Shop.

“We’re going to be adding two new freezers, as well as new equipment for food preservation and our coffeehouse operations,” Vetter explained. “We’re looking forward to presenting an entirely new menu with even more farm-to-table produce, and we’ll be offering traditional Lakota dishes on a regular basis.”

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    Together, We Brought Santa Claus to More Than 1,300 Children

Together, We Brought Santa Claus to More Than 1,300 Children

It takes more than a Christmas blizzard to stop the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. Despite subzero temperatures, howling winter winds and mountainous snow drifts, the nonprofit youth organization still managed to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,300 excited children across South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Lakota reservation this year.

As always, volunteers from around the country and Europe converged on CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, which had been transformed into a 24-7 Santa’s Workshop for the month of December. These dedicated helpers worked around the clock to sort and wrap thousands of gifts arriving from every corner of the United States.

These gifts came from long-standing partners like the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and Running Strong for American Indian Youth, both based in Virginia; the Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation in Minnesota; the St. Louis Chapter of CRYP in Missouri; and Fairview High School, student groups at CU-Boulder, Fredericks Peebles & Morgan law firm, the American Indian College Fund and Lennar Construction, all in Colorado. But they also came from generous individuals whose contributions arrived in many forms.

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    It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

It’s Not Too Late: Help CRYP Fulfill Remaining 400+ Dear Santa Letters Before Christmas!

CRYP is reaching out to its supporters and friends this week in a final push to bring Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, more than 400 “Dear Santa” letters remain to be adopted—with just five days left until Christmas.

Already, volunteers from across the United States and as far away as Ireland are converging on Santa’s Workshop at CRYP to sort and wrap thousands of gifts. These dedicated helpers work around the clock to ensure that each child will receive two or three gifts from his or her personal letter, as well as much-needed winter clothing and shoes.

The good news is that it’s not too late to help.

“At this point in December, there’s no question that donations are down over previous years,” Garreau said. “That being said, we know from experience that incredible things can happen in the last few days before the holiday.

“Supporters absolutely can contact us to adopt letters, if they would like to fulfill the children’s Christmas wishes and send the gifts to our campus in Eagle Butte,” she continued. “If it’s easier, however, simply click the ‘Donate’ button on our website and make an online contribution. It’s fully tax deductible, and we’ll do the shopping on our end to make sure all the children who wrote letters to Santa have the happy, joyful Christmas they so richly deserve.”

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