The Cheyenne River Youth Project provided school supplies for 600 students
Published August 27, 2018
EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. — The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that more than 600 children received school supplies through this year’s School Supplies Drive. They and their families received those supplies—as well as books, fleeces, shoes, soap and dental kits—during an official distribution event on Thursday, Aug. 16 in the youth project’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) gymnasium.
“Members of our Family Services program live in 20-plus communities across the Cheyenne River reservation, which is the size of Connecticut,” explains Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “These parents, grandparents and other care-givers often cannot travel the distances required for major school shopping, even if they did have enough room in the household budget to do so. This annual program right here in Eagle Butte makes life a little bit easier for them.”
Two happy students pick up their backpacks.
During the distribution, children were able to choose backpacks, protractors, compasses, calculators, pencils, pens, crayons, writing tablets, folders, kid-friendly scissors, erasers, glue sticks, rulers and so much more. There were, Garreau notes, a lot of happy faces during what was essentially a back-to-school shopping day.
“They were so excited about their new backpacks, and getting to choose their favorite colors and styles of pencil cases, folders, notebooks and other items,” she reports. “We saw such joy, and relief, because the kids know they’ll be well-prepared on the first day of school. That’s how it should be for all children, everywhere.”
This year’s annual School Supplies Drive was made possible by contributions from Running Strong for American Indian Youth in Alexandria, Virginia, and many individual donors across the country.
“The fact that we send hundreds of kids to school with everything they need—without feeling different or disadvantaged due to their circumstances—is a testament to the great power of working together toward a common purpose,” Garreau says. “We’re grateful to them for joining with us in this initiative. It means so much.”
The annual School Supplies Drive is part of CRYP’s Family Services program, which was founded in 2002 to manage the organization’s influx of in-kind donations throughout the year. To participate in CRYP distributions like the School Supplies Drive, a local family can simply join the Family Services program for a $30 membership fee.
That one-time payment covers all members of that family for the entire year, and it includes all the annual distributions, from school supplies and winter clothing to the long-running Christmas Toy Drive. It also includes much-needed household supplies and baby items, as well as a heat-match program during the cold winter and early spring months.