Cheyenne River Youth Project at 25
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — The Cheyenne River Youth Project hosted its 25thAnniversary celebration on Saturday, January 25, 2014, launching a new endowment to ensure the permanent sustainability of the organization for decades to come.
The event was attended by dozens of local community members, board members, current and former CRYP youth, community partners and tribal council members.
In her opening remarks, CRYP founder and executive director recounted the humble beginnings of the organization, which was started in a converted bar on Main Street in Eagle Butte, volunteering her time for 12 years to get an afterschool program off the ground. Soon, the program filled to capacity each day as a safe place for children to have a snack, read, finish their homework or participate in an activity.
“People in the community didn’t think we’d make it,” said Garreau. “They just knew we’d crash and burn. And they even told me they would find me a job if it didn’t make it. But we just kept going because we knew that we had to find a local solution to our needs, something that addressed the specific needs of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation. It was a measure of our sovereignty as a community that we create and sustain a program that met the needs and fulfilled our obligation to our children in ways that we feel are culturally appropriate and necessary. I believe in our sovereignty with all my heart.”
The CRYP has moved from its original location to a 60,000 square-foot facility which includes a full-sized indoor basketball court, the newly opened Keya Cafe, a gift shop with locally produced goods, a two-acre organic garden, a dance studio, computer rooms, a full-sized library, an art room and living quarters for volunteers. Its programming also features Passion for Fashion, a prom dress event for local teen girls, a Farmers Market, Main University, a Winter coat drive, literacy programs and wellness programs. Member families can also apply for heating and home repair assistance through CRYP’s Heat Match Program.
To commemorate the event, the organization launched the Cheyenne River Youth Project Endowment Fund with a goal of $25,000 to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the programs and services for decades to come.