As summer draws to a close, staff members at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® are facing a critical shortage: volunteers. In late August and into the fall months, CRYP needs to staff its Main youth center and Cokata Wiconi teen center, operate the Keya Cafe and Keya Gift Shop, stage the weekly Leading Lady Farmers Market, manage Family Services distributions, and harvest the Winyan Toka Win garden; its staff is simply too small to manage the entire East Lincoln Street campus without volunteer support.
Most people may not be aware that CRYP relies heavily on volunteer support to keep its doors open, its programs running, and its services flowing to the Cheyenne River community.
“In the beginning, it likely was more obvious,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “When the youth project began in 1988 in a run-down former bar on Main Street, it was 100-percent volunteer-run. Although we’ve expanded to include The Main, Cokata Wiconi, Family Services, Winyan Toka Win garden, Keya Cafe and Coffeeshop, Waniyetu Wowapi Art Park, and full-time staff, we still depend on volunteer support. We simply couldn’t continue with our mission in the community without our volunteers.”