CRYP Needs Contributions No Later Than Monday, August 10 for 2015 Drive
EAGLE BUTTE, SOUTH DAKOTA — With the midsummer heat and still-long days, it’s hard to believe that the new school year is just weeks away. Parents around the country are already scanning coupons and keeping their eyes open for Back to School sales, preparing to hit the stories in August.
Unfortunately, not all families have room in their budgets for school supplies. That’s why the staff and volunteers at the Cheyenne River Youth Project® are hard at work on their annual 2015 School Supplies Drive. As it has throughout its nearly 27-year history, the grassroots, not-for-profit youth organization will distribute much-needed school supplies to community schoolchildren during the month to come.
“It always surprises people that we’re thinking about the new school year in July, but we have to start early,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “These last weeks of summer are critical for gathering donated supplies, purchasing additional items with contributed funds, and then hosting the actual distribution at our Cokata Wiconi teen center.”
This year’s School Supplies Drive distribution is scheduled for Wednesday, August 12. Children and families who aren’t able to attend the distribution are welcome to visit Cokata Wiconi at a later date to choose their school supplies. In 2014, CRYP served 511 Cheyenne River children and 135 families at the scheduled August distribution and in the days and weeks to follow.
According to Garreau, the annual School Supplies Drive accomplishes two major goals on the Cheyenne River reservation, which comprises two of the most impoverished counties in the nation.
“For starters, we want to make sure that every child has the supplies he or she needs to be successful during the new school year,” she explained. “Too often, children from difficult circumstances start a new year several steps behind their classmates, which makes the mountain more difficult to climb. We want our kids to be ready, at the starting line, alongside everyone else.
“In addition, we want them to have the fun of preparing for the first day of school,” she continued. “How many people have good memories of shopping with their parents, choosing the colors and styles of the supplies on their list and feeling that eager anticipation for the new year? Our kids deserve that excitement too. So once again, we’re encouraging all of our friends and supporters around the country, and around the world, to join with us as we seek to serve more kids than ever before.”
CRYP’s annual School Supplies Drive is a major component of its Family Services Program, created in 2002 to manage the increasing amounts of donated supplies that the youth project provides to local families year-round. To participate in the program, all a local family needs to do is pay a $30 annual membership fee. The one-time payment covers all family members for the year.
“For that $30, a Cheyenne River family can participate in all of our Family Services distributions, from the school supplies, winter clothing and shoes drives to our long-running Christmas Toy Drive,” Garreau explained. “They also can pick up needed household supplies, including baby items, on a regular basis and can receive heating and home-improvement assistance.”
Those who have current Family Services memberships will receive invitations for their children to attend the School Supplies Drive distribution in late August. If a family does not have a membership but is interested in obtaining one, simply call the CRYP administrative office at (605) 964-8200. All children must have invitations to receive their new school supplies.
“If some kids can’t make it to the distribution or are new to our community, we make sure we have plenty of the items that we feel will be most important, and we continue to distribute them after the distribution has taken place,” Garreau explained.
“The goal of our Family Services program is to make life a bit easier for our kids by helping their family members,” she added. “Many families simply don’t have room in their tight budgets to purchase school supplies, so we want to do our part to help their children be ready for the first day of school. They should enjoy the same joy and anticipation as kids anywhere.”
To operate its Family Services Program, CRYP relies on a variety of important contributors. Critical donors include organizational partners, church groups, service groups and private individuals.
“We wouldn’t be able to provide school supplies to so many children here on Cheyenne River without the support of our friends and supporters around the country, and even around the world,” Garreau said. “We know we’re going to have 500 or 600 children show up, hoping to receive everything they need to start the year off right, and we need to be ready for them. They rely on us.”
To support the 2015 School Supplies drive, please send in-kind donations: backpacks for grades 1-12, protractors, compasses, calculators, mechanical pencils, writing tablets for preschoolers and kindergartners, regular and colored pencils, crayons, markers, folders, pencil cases, notebook paper, kid-friendly scissors, erasers, glue sticks, pencils, pens and rulers. Fat crayons and fat pencils also would be greatly appreciated for our younger schoolchildren.
Contributors also may send funds, which the staff will use to purchase any additional items needed.
“We’re asking our supporters to please send their contributions no later than Monday, August 10,” Garreau said. “We need time to organize the supplies and get ready for hundreds of excited children!”
In-kind donations and checks may be sent to: Cheyenne River Youth Project, East Lincoln St., P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625. To donate online, simply visitwww.lakotayouth.org and click “Help CRYP.”
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 visitwww.lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.