This month, CRYP would like to highlight a community partner that is very near and dear to our hearts: Dairy Queen in Eagle Butte.
Since 2010, DQ owners Lonnie and Jackie Heier have been valued partners in the annual Sweet Tooth for Youth fundraiser. In this popular fundraising event, $1 of every malt, shake, Blizzard and Orange Julius purchase is donated to CRYP to support its youth programming and services. The 6th annual Sweet Tooth for Youth fundraiser took place on May 10-16 and raised $1,130 — an impressive number, given the cold, wet, uncooperative weather.
According to the Heiers, Sweet Tooth for Youth actually has two goals. One is raising funds. The other is raising awareness about the 26-year-old, not-for-profit, grassroots youth project’s ongoing mission in the Cheyenne River community.
“CRYP does so much for this community,” Lonnie Heier says. “Its impact on the children simply can’t be overstated. You take one step onto the CRYP campus, and you can’t help but notice that it’s a positive place. Julie and her team do a fantastic job teaching the kids, keeping them safe, and helping them reach their full potential. Dairy Queen is proud to be a supporter of this organization.”
Every dollar raised through the “Sweet Tooth for Youth” fundraiser directly supports CRYP’s programs, which have been serving children and families on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation for more than a quarter century. Community fundraisers like this one are critical, because they do so much more than simply raise money for a cause.
“Community fundraisers also foster goodwill, and they bring members of the community together for a common purpose,” explains Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “That is priceless. Not only do we have a popular local business standing with us, Cheyenne River families and children of all ages can show their support by purchasing sweet treats. It’s yet another demonstration of how an entire community can pull together and lift itself up.”
Partnering with the local DQ has proven to be incredibly rewarding on many levels. Not only do the Heiers support Sweet Tooth for Youth each year, they also have helped with Passion for Fashion and the Christmas Toy Drive, two of CRYP’s most popular and enduring programs. Lonnie Heier serves on the youth project’s board of directors, and he’s gone the extra mile, Garreau says, when CRYP needed him.
“Recently, when a window at our Cokata Wiconi teen center was broken, he was the first to send a check to help us out,” she recalls. “Lonnie and Jackie just really believe in what we’re doing. They believe in investing in community… and they do it.
“We’re deeply grateful to Lonnie and Jackie for the support they show us,” she added. “During Sweet Tooth for Youth, and throughout the year.”