CRYP is now accepting donations for the 2018 School Supplies Drive! The official distribution is scheduled to take place at the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 16, and all members of CRYP’s Family Services program may participate with their children.
Families who aren’t able to attend the distribution are welcome to visit Cokata Wiconi at a later date to choose their school supplies. Each year, CRYP serves more than 500 Cheyenne River children at the scheduled August distribution and in the days and weeks to follow.
“All children deserve to start the new school year with the tools they need to be successful,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “They also should be able to have fun preparing for the first day of school. At our distribution on Aug. 16, our kids will be able to choose their favorite items, make sure they’ve gotten everything on their lists, and start the new year on the same starting line as everyone else.
“We also want to make life a bit easier for our kids by helping their families and caregivers,” she continued. “Together, we can make sure all of Cheyenne River’s children are ready for the first day of school.”
In addition to school supplies, CRYP also will be distributing athletic shoes, fleece jackets, dental kits, bars of soap, diapers, and books. Running Strong for American Indian Youth made distribution of these items possible.
CRYP’s annual School Supplies Drive is a major component of its Family Services program, created in 2002 to manage the increasing amounts of donated supplies that the youth project provides to local families year-round. To participate, all a local family needs to do is pay a $30 annual membership fee. The one-time payment covers all family members for the year.
“For just $30, a Cheyenne River family can participate in all of our Family Services distributions, from school supplies, shoes and winter clothing to our long-running Christmas Toy Drive,” Garreau explained. “They also can pick up needed household supplies and baby items on a regular basis, and they can participate in our annual heat assistance program during the cold winter and early spring months.”
Those who have current Family Services memberships receive invitations for their children to attend the distribution on Aug. 8. If a family does not have a membership but is interested in obtaining one, simply call the CRYP office at (605) 964-8200. All children must have invitations to receive their new school supplies.
To operate Family Services, CRYP relies on a variety of important contributors. Critical donors include organizational partners, church groups, service groups and private individuals.
“We wouldn’t be able to provide school supplies to so many children here on Cheyenne River without the support of our many friends and supporters, near and far,” Garreau said. “We know we’re going to have hundreds of children show up, hoping to receive everything they need to start the year off right, and we need to be ready for them. They rely on us.”
To support the 2018 School Supplies drive, please send: backpacks for grades 1-12, protractors, compasses, calculators, mechanical pencils, writing tablets for preschoolers and kindergartners, regular and colored pencils, crayons, markers, folders, pencil cases, notebook paper, kid-friendly scissors, erasers, glue sticks, pencils, pens and rulers. Fat crayons and fat pencils also would be greatly appreciated for our younger schoolchildren.
Contributors also may send funds, which the staff will use to purchase any additional items needed. In-kind donations and checks may be sent to: Cheyenne River Youth Project, 702 4th St., P.O. Box 410, Eagle Butte, SD 57625. To donate online, simply visit www.lakotayouth.org and click “Give.” All contributions need to be in-house no later than Wednesday, Aug. 15, so CRYP staff members and volunteers will have time to organize the supplies and prepare for hundreds of excited children.
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@waniyetuwowapi).
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.