This month, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is competing to win a $10,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant. From now through October 7, members of the public can vote for CRYP’s grant project once per day at www.facebook.com/WellmarkBCBS.
To date, the Wellmark Foundation has received approximately 120 qualified applications. Although public voting is just one part of the overall scoring process, it demonstrates which projects have the most community support.
If CRYP wins, this grant funding will allow it to provide critical infrastructure for youth at the East Lincoln Street campus in Eagle Butte. For example, CRYP staff hope to build a greenhouse in the 2-acre, naturally grown Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden so they can jumpstart the all-too-short growing season in north-central South Dakota. Also on deck: the installation of new safety pads in the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center’s full-size gymnasium.
The Wellmark Foundation awards grants to projects that improve community health through active living and access to—and consumption of—healthy foods. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, the Community Kickstarter grant is a perfect fit for the nonprofit youth organization.
“Our garden and gymnasium give local youth, families and community members access to year-round gardening opportunities, and a safe place to participate in exercise and sports,” she explained. “If we can build our greenhouse and start our plants early, we expect to get even more produce from our garden each year, increasing the availability of fresh food. We’ll also continue to enhance what is becoming a year-round living classroom, helping us teach our kids how to grow their own healthy foods and maintain a successful high-yield garden.
“And, in the gymnasium, the funding will allow us to make our active spaces even safer for youth and community members,” she continued. “Over the long term, through education and programming supported by these improvements, our youth will be better prepared to lead active, healthy lives.”
Garreau said the true measures of success will be falling diabetes and obesity rates. “In time, we hope to see fewer children developing diabetes, and more children maintaining an optimal weight,” she noted. “We want to see healthy eating choices and less sedentary lifestyles, and our Winyan Toka Win garden and Cokata Wiconi fitness facilities are dedicated to those goals.”
Once again, to show your support for CRYP and its $10,000 Wellmark Foundation Community Kickstarter grant project, visit www.facebook.com/WellmarkBCBS. Click the “Community Kickstarter 2016” image, and scroll through the projects until you find “Improving Health and Wellness for Cheyenne River Lakota Youth” in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. Supporters may vote once per day through Friday, October 7.
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Cheyenne River Youth Project, founded in 1988, is a grassroots, not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing the youth of the Cheyenne River reservation with access to a vibrant and secure future through a wide variety of culturally sensitive and enduring programs, projects and facilities that ensure strong, self-sufficient families and communities.