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Running Strong for American Indian Youth

2017 School Supplies Drive Serves Hundreds

On Wednesday, August 2, CRYP hosted its annual School Supplies Drive distribution in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s gymnasium. Now, just days later, the grassroots, nonprofit youth organization has already provided nearly 300 children — from Headstart through high school — with the school supplies they need to start the new school year.

What’s more, additional children are arriving daily to search for their supplies, which means this year’s CRYP School Supplies Drive likely will serve another 150 to 200 children.

“Members of our Family Services program live in 20-plus communities across the Cheyenne River reservation, which is the size of Connecticut,” explained Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “Due to work schedules, the distances involved, and sometimes lack of transportation, some families cannot attend our actual distribution day. So we make sure that all the supplies are available right up until the first day of school for those community members, as well as for families who may have recently moved to the area.”

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    CRYP Teaches Children to Grow Their Own Food Through Garden Club

CRYP Teaches Children to Grow Their Own Food Through Garden Club

Winter doesn’t stop the Cheyenne River Youth Project®. Although the growing season is still many weeks away, the nonprofit youth organization is already engaging children with the concepts of sustainable agriculture and food sovereignty—even the youngest children.

Last month, CRYP kicked off a new session of its Garden Club, inviting 4- to 12-year-olds who attend The Main youth center to learn more about gardening and healthy eating. From 4 to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 1, these children will work on creating their own herb gardens, with classes scheduled both in The Main’s kitchen and in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s classroom.

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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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    CRYP Launches Annual Christmas Toy Drive for 1,600+ Children

CRYP Launches Annual Christmas Toy Drive for 1,600+ Children

By the time fall arrives, countless children are already writing their letters to Santa Claus, already counting down the days until he arrives with his bountiful stocking-stuffers and beautifully wrapped packages. Countless parents are already making their annual holiday to-do lists, hoping that they’ll get the holiday cards, shopping, baking, and decorating done on time this year.

Unfortunately, that’s not the reality for everyone. When there is no room in the family budget for gifts, much less ornaments or Christmas cookies, the holidays are likely to be stressful and sad rather than merry.

That’s why the Cheyenne River Youth Project started its annual Christmas Toy Drive more than a quarter century ago. On the Cheyenne River reservation in north-central South Dakota, the unemployment rate hovers near 75 percent, and approximately 60 percent of households with children under the age of 18 fall below the poverty line. Here, too many children would likely have no Christmas at all, so CRYP stepped in to help Santa Claus—and ease the burden on families who have so little.

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    300 Children Take Part in 2016 School Supplies Distribution, With More to Come

300 Children Take Part in 2016 School Supplies Distribution, With More to Come

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® announced today that more than 300 children have attended its annual school supplies distribution at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center this month. The nonprofit youth organization is expecting to serve many more children before the first day of school.

Those who were unable to attend the official distribution on August 8, who didn’t have the opportunity to join Family Services in time or who are new to the community still may participate. CRYP has plenty of school supplies in stock so it can distribute them throughout the month of August.

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    2nd & 3rd Cohorts of Teen Art Interns Prepare for Upcoming RedCan Exhibition

2nd & 3rd Cohorts of Teen Art Interns Prepare for Upcoming RedCan Exhibition

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that its second and third cohorts of teen art interns are preparing a formal exhibition of their work, which will be open to the public. Their artwork will be on display from Wednesday, July 6 to Saturday, July 9 in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s classroom.

CRYP is inviting all the interns’ families to attend a special opening reception and honoring ceremony at Cokata Wiconi on Wednesday evening, which also is the first night of the eagerly anticipated RedCan graffiti jam. Guests may view the teens’ framed artwork and enjoy refreshments while mingling with youth project staff and visiting artists.

Also on hand will be Peyton Scott Russell from Minnesota’s Twin Cities, a returning RedCan artist and the lead instructor for CRYP’s innovative, 18-month-old art internship program. This comprehensive program gives Cheyenne River teens the opportunity to build their skills in a variety of artistic disciplines, including traditional art, graffiti art, and street art.

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    Heat Assistance Program Aids 190 Cheyenne River Families This Winter and Spring

Heat Assistance Program Aids 190 Cheyenne River Families This Winter and Spring

On May 6, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® officially concluded its Heat Assistance Program for the 2015-16 winter season. The program provided much-needed matching funds to 190 families on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River Lakota reservation during the cold winter and spring months.

Nearly 200 families translates to more than 1,000 individuals, and more than half of them children. Their families were able to request matching grants up to $100 to help cover the cost of propane, electricity or firewood when they most needed it. Through its Family Services program, CRYP processed the requests and worked with local providers to ensure that each family received assistance as quickly as possible.

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    CRYP is Accepting Applications for Summer Teen Internships Through May 27

CRYP is Accepting Applications for Summer Teen Internships Through May 27

The Cheyenne River Youth Project® has announced that it will be accepting applications for its summer teen internship programs through Friday, May 27. Internship opportunities include wellness, social enterprise and sustainable agriculture; CRYP is offering three 80-hour internships during the summer season, with each session running approximately two to three weeks.

During their internships, participating teens will participate in classes and trainings, they’ll be involved in event planning and youth mentorship, and they’ll gain valuable job and life skills that will serve them well beyond high school. Those who complete their 80 hours each will earn a stipend of $500.

These aren’t simply summer jobs, however. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, CRYP’s internship programs are carefully designed for Lakota youth.

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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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    2015 Christmas Toy Drive Brings Santa Claus to 1,600+ Children

2015 Christmas Toy Drive Brings Santa Claus to 1,600+ Children

The numbers are in, and they’re numbers the Cheyenne River Youth Project® has never seen before. In its 2015 Christmas Toy Drive, the 27-year-old, not-for-profit youth organization brought Santa Claus to more than 1,600 children across South Dakota’s remote Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

As they do every year, Cheyenne River’s children wrote heartfelt letters to Santa throughout the fall months, asking for gifts for themselves and frequently for family members as well. This past fall, letters came from 340 families, regular participants at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center and The Main youth center, and children who live in local shelters and foster care.

“During the past few years, we’ve set a goal of serving 1,500 children at Christmastime,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We constantly strive to expand our reach and serve more children each year, since the need is so great on Cheyenne River. We’re stunned that we not only exceeded our goal this year, we exceeded it by more than 100 children. We simply couldn’t have done that without all of our dedicated partners, and our army of around-the-clock volunteers. It’s so much more than a seasonal toy drive. It’s a movement.”

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