A month remains to support the Cheyenne River Youth Project®’s 2017 Passion for Fashion event, which is scheduled for 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at CRYP’s Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center. The nonprofit youth project is asking its friends and supporters to make an in-kind or financial contribution so it can make sure Cheyenne River’s young women will have a prom night to remember.

It’s about so much more than the prom, however. Since its inception 16 years ago, Passion for Fashion has proven to be a powerful venue for building friendships, multigenerational relationships, and positive self-esteem.

“We want Passion for Fashion to be a special occasion for our teens to celebrate their authentic selves and their innate beauty, to find their confidence, and to acknowledge their true potential,” said Tammy Granados, CRYP’s youth programs director. “One young lady told me that she really liked talking about how girls need to support each other, because that’s how they’ll succeed. By building each other up, not tearing each other down.”

Executive Director Julie Garreau noted that a remarkable transformation occurs during the five-hour event, which begins with a luncheon and keynote speaker and ends with a no-holds-barred fashion show.

“We see the young women come out of their shells,” she explained. “They’re always shy in the beginning, and they do hesitate a little when they enter our gymnasium. But then they start trying on dresses, they experiment with makeup and hairstyles, and they enjoy the pampering that comes with a facial, a manicure or a pedicure. They feel special and treasured, which they are—and once they hit the catwalk, their confidence and self-esteem are shining through. It’s beautiful, and deeply moving.”

As always, Passion for Fashion will provide an engaging and elegant environment for exploring personal strength, individual beauty and empowerment. And, attending teens are encouraged to bring their female relatives of all ages—grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters and cousins—to share a priceless rite of passage and life experience.

“One parent pulled me aside last year to say how wonderful Passion for Fashion was,” Granados reflected. “She told me her daughter has always loved coming, and now she understands why. In that sense, we do more than lift up our teens. We lift up our community.”

All high-school girls on the Cheyenne River reservation receive personalized invitations to Passion for Fashion, and junior-high girls are welcome to attend as well. CRYP also welcomes teens from the nearby Standing Rock reservation, and from border towns such as Faith, South Dakota.

For its 2017 Passion for Fashion event, CRYP needs new and gently used formal dresses in sizes 4 to 26, especially in sizes 16 to 26. It also needs shoes in all sizes, especially in sizes 9 to 12.

The organization also asks for jewelry and hair accessories; makeup and bath sets; gift cards and cash donations. Staff and volunteers will take any contributed funds and make additional purchases based on need. And donors can rest assured, Granados said, that every contribution makes a difference, no matter the size.

“Each year, the teens tell me how good it feels to see that people care enough to create this kind of special day, this kind of magic, just for them,” she said. “We’re so grateful to all the donors and volunteers who help make Passion for Fashion such a success year after year, because we couldn’t do it without their support.”

For details regarding how you can support CRYP’s Passion for Fashion, click here. Check out this video to learn more about the program, and to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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.