In partnership with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe’s Indian Child Welfare program, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will host a Masquerade Ball & Community Dinner at its Eagle Butte campus on Friday, Feb. 22. Scheduled for 6-8 p.m. at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life), this special event is open free to all ages; children must be accompanied by an adult.

Upon arrival, attendees will be able to play a variety of games in the Cokata Wiconi gymnasium, including musical chairs, fish pond and cake walk. Then, following a traditional Lakota blessing, they will enjoy a hearty meal of sloppy Joes, hot dogs, salad, chips and cake. CRYP staff will be awarding prizes as well.

“February is always a big month for us, as we prepare to host Passion for Fashion for our teens,” says Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “This year, we wanted to give children of all ages an opportunity to dress up in formal or semiformal attire and attend a special event designed just for them. Like Passion for Fashion, it’s a chance to enjoy a night out with friends and family members, celebrate their own unique styles and personalities, and make valuable memories together.”

According to Widow, it’s also an opportunity for the younger children who attend programs at CRYP’s “The Main” youth center to experience Cokata Wiconi. The Main serves as CRYP’s first point of contact—and impact—with Cheyenne River youth, who can then go on to pursue teen internships, leadership initiatives, wellness programming, arts education, Lakota culture initiatives, college nights, and so much more.

“We want these kids to join our teen programs when they turn 13,” she explains. “They’re curious about what they call ‘the big building,’ so we try to engage them in age-appropriate programs over here as often as we can. It gives them a glimpse of what they have to look forward to — the facilities, the programs, and all the fun they’ll have.

“Because the Masquerade Ball is a family-friendly event, it’s also an opportunity for parents and guardians to visit Cokata Wiconi and learn more about what what we offer,” she adds. “We’re looking forward to welcoming our entire community to Cokata Wiconi for the Masquerade Ball.”

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.