The Cheyenne River Youth Project will be hosting its 5th annual Harvest Festival Celebration for the Cheyenne River Lakota reservation community at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27. The event is open free to the public and will include a couple of very special additions this year.
The evening’s festivities will begin with a dinner buffet at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, with homemade menu items including buffalo soup, buffalo stew, wojapi, fresh bread, salads, casseroles, carrot cake and zucchini bread. Many of the dishes will incorporate fresh, nutritious produce from the Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden.
Following the evening meal, attendees will be able to attend the premiere of a short documentary film that tells the story of a local teen, her involvement with the youth project and its innovative internship program, and life on Cheyenne River. San Francisco-based Square Inc. produced the film, and its team will be on site for the premiere.
“The film will be followed by a short Q&A panel with Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of Square — and the CEO and co-founder of Twitter ,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We’re honored to host Mr. Dorsey and the rest of the team at Square. They’ve produced a powerful film, and we’re very much looking forward to sharing it with our friends and neighbors here on Cheyenne River.”
Not only will guests be able to see the film, share the bountiful harvest from CRYP’s sustainable agriculture program, and celebrate the many ways the garden helps strengthen the community’s connection to Lakota values and and lifeways, they will have the opportunity to recognize and honor the youth project’s current teen interns.
“Since we started the internship program at Cokata Wiconi three years ago, we have graduated hundreds of interns in sustainable agriculture, social enterprise, wellness and art,” Garreau said. “They’ve all received job and life skills training in First Aid and CPR, financial literacy, college financial planning and public service.
For nearly three decades, CRYP’s mission has been to give Cheyenne River’s young people access to a vibrant and more secure future. It provides safe and healthy spaces, its staff and volunteers serve as positive role models and mentors, and everyone associated with the project works hard to help strengthen the connection the young people have with their Lakota culture.
According to Garreau, the organization is always striving to enhance and broaden the opportunities it offers. As the new film demonstrates, this can be life-changing for the young people who participate in CRYP programs.
“They can explore their interests, find their own unique voices and passions, build self-confidence, learn to advocate for themselves, and develop critical job and life skills that will serve them well all their lives,” Garreau explained. “In the process, they start to envision a future in which they are thriving. That’s the future they so richly deserve.”
To view other short films from Square, visit http://foreverydream.com.
To RSVP for the Harvest Festival Celebration and film premiere, visit https://harvestnight.splashthat.com. If you have questions or wish to learn more, call the CRYP offices at 605-964-8200.
And, 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.