30 Workshop Participants Earned Special Midnight Basketball Event at the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center on January 22
Published January 26, 2016
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project® hosted a two-week series of teen workshops at its Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. Seventy-five teens attended the workshops, which focused on preparing for college, valuable job and life skills, positive relationships and healthy sexuality, and the 30 teens who participated at least one session each week were able to attend a special participants-only Midnight Basketball event at Cokata Wiconi on Friday, January 22.
At the helm of the Winter Workshop Series was CRYP’s winter intern, Emilie Carr. A third-year history major at Ohio’s Oberlin College, Carr works as a tutor leader with the Ninde Scholars Program and is co-chair of Boys and Girls in Motion, a local after-school program. She’s dedicated to creating educational change, improving college access for all, and fighting the devastating school-to-prison pipeline.
“We were thrilled to have Emilie with us in January,” said Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director. “She was an incredible intern. She tried really hard to reach the kids, and she was able to effectively brainstorm new approaches. She never gave up, and I think that is so commendable. She worked hard to earn the teens’ trust and to build relationships, to get to know them personally and show them that she was truly interested in sharing her knowledge. She was really great.”
The first week of workshops focused on college access, with sessions that included Financial Aid Night; Interviews, incorporating both college and employment scenarios; Resume Writing, in conjunction with local business owners; and College 101, with local college students participating in a panel discussion about different schools, degree options, deadlines and experiences.
Teens also were able to take advantage of Carr’s all-day drop-in hours at Cokata Wiconi. During her office hours, she provided additional college counseling and support with cover letters, applications and essay-writing.
“For me, college access is incredibly important,” Carr said. “Our educational system is deeply flawed, and although college isn’t necessarily the one and only solution, giving kids more agency in their choices and their futures seems like a good start to me. Though in some ways college access is like a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, college allows students to study what they are interested in and gain new skills that will benefit them in their careers, no matter what their high school education was like.
“College isn’t the right choice for a lot of kids, but the skills that I’m teaching will benefit even those who want to go right into the workforce,” she continued. “Workshops like Interview Skills, Resume-Writing and Financial Aid Night can benefit a wide range of students. Even if I end up drawing just five kids to my workshops… I’m start the conversation about college, which hopefully will spark more interest among high school students.”
Carr also provided a weeklong series of workshops that focused on healthy, positive relationships and sexuality. These included Consent and Healthy Relationships, Anatomy and Birth Control, Gender and Sexuality, and a special recap session that addressed the previous days’ topics.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit www.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.