The Larson Family Foundation in Brookings, South Dakota, is a grant-making foundation created by the Larson family to share its good fortune with the people of South Dakota. The foundation’s focus is to help people in need achieve a better quality of life. The main emphasis of grants to be awarded: to fulfill basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and education.

The foundation is a longtime CRYP partner. Their relationship dates to the late 1990s; it assisted the youth project with its first capital campaign to build The Main youth center (1999) as well as the Cokata Wiconi teen center (2006). For 2015, the foundation has given CRYP a $20,000 grant with specific objectives that include: deliver/expand current youth programming to more than 800 young people at The Main and Cokata Wiconi, and provide ongoing Family Services to more than 400 Cheyenne River families.

On the youth programming side, Larson Family Foundation grant will allow the youth project to provide daily educational programming that includes the Literacy Program, Book Club, Homework Help, and the long-running — and wildly popular — Main University. It also will ensure daily arts programming (see photo), daily health and wellness activities aimed at reducing childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, and monthly leadership and community service activities for young children and teenagers.

In addition, grant funding will enable CRYP staff to coordinate up to 10 College Night events for local teens, quarterly special events, training opportunities for children and teens, and daily meals and snacks for all participants at the youth and teen centers.

On the Family Services side, the grant will allow CRYP to provide emergency hygiene and household items each week, and to coordinate quarterly events and distributions for much-needed items such as school supplies, winter coats, shoes, and blankets.

“Words cannot express the depth of our gratitude to the Larson Family Foundation,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “The foundation is a critical partner for CRYP as we pursue our ongoing mission in the community this year — providing our youth, and their families, with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs.”