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Partner of the Month

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    January Partners of the Month: Our 2015 Christmas Toy Drive Champions

January Partners of the Month: Our 2015 Christmas Toy Drive Champions

This month, we’d like to express our deepest gratitude to a very special group of CRYP supporters: the champions of the 2015 Christmas Toy Drive. With their help, we smashed our goal of serving 1,500 children. This past December, CRYP and its partners brought Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children across the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

Please read on, and click on the individual links to learn more about these worthy organizations, each of which has demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas with its generosity, friendship, and love.

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October Partner of the Month: SWAMP-IN

This month, we’re going to do something a little differently. One of the leaders of our featured Partner of the Month, SWAMP-IN (Saints with a Mission Purpose — Indian Nations), will be sharing her group’s CRYP story. We’re honored to introduce our longtime friend and supporter Debra Wills, and to express our heartfelt gratitude for her St. Louis-based group’s many years of dedicated service with our not-for-profit, grassroots youth project.

“Looking back over the last 13 years, since SWAMP-IN was formed, I can come up with many reasons why my family was first drawn to the Cheyenne River Youth Project and the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation,” Wills says. “I don’t believe in coincidence. God always has a purpose beyond what I can see.

“In 2002, my husband Mike and I were teaching our sons about American History from an indigenous point of view. While reading the local paper, I saw an ad to adopt ‘Dear Santa’ letters from a reservation in South Dakota. We took three letters from children who were the same ages as our sons. The gifts were to come from them, not Mike or me; each letter was fulfilled, and that should have been the end of the story. Little did I know it would be just the beginning.

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September Partner of the Month: Dietel Partners

This month, we’d like to acknowledge Dietel Partners, a family-owned philanthropic advising firm that represents anonymous donors’ interests and awards grants on their behalf. Dietel Partners and its clients have supported CRYP for more than three years.

Our relationship started in 2012, when Dietel Partners awarded a grant that allowed CRYP to purchase two large vans. Finally, after 24 years of running a youth center, we were able to transport youth and staff with our own vehicles! Then, in 2013 and 2014, Dietel Partners provided critical funding for two youth programming positions — and for a new Xerox machine when the old one died right before the busy 2013 holiday season.

In the last 12 months, Dietel Partners and its clients supported CRYP with special grants to put up fencing that would secure the 5-acre Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park property. They also underwrote the new art internship program for local teens; CRYP graduated the first cohort of interns at the inaugural RedCan graffiti jam in July, and the second cohort is starting the internship program this fall.

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August Partner of the Month: Hopa Mountain

This month, we would like to highlight a very special partner that has joined with us many times as we seek to lift up our community from within. Bozeman, Montana-based Hopa Mountain is a not-for-profit organization that invests in rural and tribal citizen leaders, adults and youth, who are working to improve education, ecological health and economic development within their communities.

Hopa Mountain offers a seven principal leadership training programs throughout the year. They are: Hopa Mountain StoryMakers, Youth Leadership Programs, Indigenous and Latino Scholars of Promise, Native Science Fellowships, Strengthening the Circle – Native Nonprofit Leadership Programs, Citizen Leader Workshops and Nonprofit Leadership Training/Affiliate Programs.

“Through the years, Hopa Mountain has been a steadfast supporter of what we’re doing here on Cheyenne River,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “I graduated from its native nonprofit leadership program, and these days, I help with the leadership workshops. Hopa Mountain has brought me, and CRYP, so far.”

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July Partner of the Month: Keith and Ann Brundin

As so many of you already know, this month marks the kickoff of a new annual event for CRYP: the RedCan graffiti jam. RedCan is one of our many arts initiatives here at the youth project, which include the Waniyetu Wowapi (“Winter Count”) Art Park, the art internship program, and a variety of ongoing classes and workshops.

With Waniyetu Wowapi, we sought to create a free, public art space where community members and visitors of all ages could gather and share their stories, life experiences, and unique identities and voices in a safe, positive environment. We dedicated the park last September, and now, we’re finding that it’s resonating with people in ways we could not have expected.

Some of these supporters are artists. RedCan has attracted acclaimed graffiti artists from Denver, Rapid City, Minneapolis, Miami and southern California, as well as native artists, dancers and drum groups from across Indian country.

Others are community members who see a new hope for their children. One mother told us she drove 80 miles each way from the Takini community so her son could paint in the park.

Then there are those supporters who seek only to make a contribution to ensure that the art park, and our youth project, will be here for generations to come. These are people like Keith and Ann Brundin of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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May Partner of the Month: Child Fund International

Child Fund International exists to help deprived, excluded and vulnerable children have the capacity to improve their lives and the opportunity to become young adults, parents and leaders who bring lasting and positive change in their communities. The organization, originally founded in 1938 to support orphaned children in China, promotes societies around the world whose individuals and institutions participate in valuing, protecting and advancing the worth and rights of children.

Over its 75-year history, CFI’s approach has evolved into one of community development — the idea that you can best help children by strengthening their families and community structures. That makes the international not-for-profit organization the perfect partner for the Cheyenne River Youth Project, according to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director.

“We share a similar mission,” Garreau explained. “We, too, are dedicated to providing youth with access to a vibrant and secure future. Here on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, that means ensuring that we can give our children from age 4 to age 18 a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities right here in Eagle Butte.”

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April Partner of the Month: FriendSwap

Over the years, fundraisers for the Cheyenne River Youth Project® in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, have taken many forms. One such fundraiser stands out.

For 13 years, FriendSwap in Washington, D.C., has played match-maker for hundreds upon hundreds of young professionals — and donated the proceeds to the 26-year-old youth project. This spring, 735 single Washingtonians attended the 13th annual FriendSwap party and raised close to $14,000 to support CRYP’s youth programming and services (pictured here: Spanish class at The Main, CRYP’s youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds).

FriendSwap was founded by attorney and Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member Heather Dawn Thompson in 2002. Today, it’s led by national best-selling author Kerry Reichs.

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March Partner of the Month: The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

This month, we would like to shine the spotlight on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe here in north-central South Dakota. Over the years, our tribe has supported us in a variety of ways, each of which has been critical as we pursue our mission in the Cheyenne River community.

Not only is the Cheyenne River Youth Project included in the tribe’s general operating budget each year, CRST has provided valuable additional funding through the Tribal Equitable Compensation Act (TECA) in recent years.

CRST’s Tribal Health Department also provides much-needed support for our youth programming and ongoing staff development, primarily through Four Bands Healing Center. And, its Alcohol and Beverage Commission (ABC) provides assistance with food and beverages for special youth and community events.

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February Partner of the Month: The Larson Family Foundation

The Larson Family Foundation in Brookings, South Dakota, is a grant-making foundation created by the Larson family to share its good fortune with the people of South Dakota. The foundation’s focus is to help people in need achieve a better quality of life. The main emphasis of grants to be awarded: to fulfill basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and education.

The foundation is a longtime CRYP partner. Their relationship dates to the late 1990s; it assisted the youth project with its first capital campaign to build The Main youth center (1999) as well as the Cokata Wiconi teen center (2006). For 2015, the foundation has given CRYP a $20,000 grant with specific objectives that include: deliver/expand current youth programming to more than 800 young people at The Main and Cokata Wiconi, and provide ongoing Family Services to more than 400 Cheyenne River families.

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    January Partners of the Month: Our Christmas Toy Drive Champions!

January Partners of the Month: Our Christmas Toy Drive Champions!

This month, instead of highlighting just one partner, we’d like to take our hats off to a very special group of CRYP supporters: the champions of the 2014 Christmas Toy Drive. With their help, we were able to serve 1,350 Cheyenne River children this year.

Please read on, and click on the individual links to learn more about these worthy organizations, each of which has demonstrated the true meaning of Christmas with its generosity, friendship, and love.

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