While many of the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s teen interns have completed multiple internship programs at our Eagle Butte campus, we are constantly welcoming new participants. We take great pleasure in watching them learn new skills, develop a sense of pride in themselves and in their work, and design future plans that incorporate these meaningful job and life experiences.
Salicia Jewett, 17, is one of our new interns. This month, she is working in our Keya (Turtle) Cafe as a social enterprises intern; her responsibilities include cleaning and maintaining the cafe’s commercial kitchen, hand-crafting the cafe’s signature coffee drinks, and providing customer service.
“It’s a lot of the same chores you do at home, but I enjoy helping people, so I don’t really think of it as a job,” Salicia says. “I thought it was time to get off the sofa and do something… to stop being so dependent on my parents.”
So far, Salicia says her favorite parts of the job involve making coffee and the signature drinks, helping with the cooking, and serving customers. She also enjoys the opportunity to work with the CRYP team in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center.
“This is my first job, and I love it,” she says enthusiastically. “Everyone is so nice.”
Salicia observes that CRYP plays a vital role in her reservation community, because here on Cheyenne River, too many young people are suffering from a lack of positive role models and healthy outlets for energy and creativity, as well as from the social ills that tend to accompany life in an underserved and impoverished area. At the nonprofit youth project, not only will these young people receive much-needed support, they can take advantage of a variety of educational, recreational and even employment opportunities.
“I love that my community has the teen center, and so many things to do on a daily basis,” Salicia says, “whether they’re internships in the summer or teen programs during the school year. CRYP provides an opportunity for youth who don’t have anything to do, are in trouble and want to get help or take their minds off their problems, or just want to earn money.”
For her part, Salicia doesn’t have any shortage of things to do. Outside of her school work, she enjoys volleyball, basketball and track (especially hurdles). She’s also interested in sports science.
“After high school, I’m going to play college volleyball and get my degree in kinesiology,” she says. “I’m going to be an athletic trainer when I’m done with volleyball.
“I wanted to do this (internship) because I am going into my senior year of high school,” she continues, “and I want to gain work experience and learn new things (for) when I go out into the world.”