From Sunday, May 19 to Sunday, May 26, the Cheyenne River Youth Project and the local Dairy Queen in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, will be hosting a very special event to benefit their community’s youngest members. In this 10th annual fundraiser, $1 from the purchase of each Blizzard, shake or malt will be donated to The Main, CRYP’s beloved youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds.
During “Sweet Tooth for Youth,” the nonprofit youth project’s staff and DQ owners Lonnie and Jackie Heier are hoping to raise $2,000 to benefit The Main’s summer youth programming. These programs include Summer Literacy; Garden Club; Bike Club and other wellness activities; arts and crafts; field trips; and other innovative daily and weekly programs..
“We’ve partnered with the Heiers for nearly a decade, and Lonnie currently serves on our board of directors,” says Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We share in common the desire to give our young people, and our entire Cheyenne River community, with access to new opportunities, and we are proud to call Lonnie and Jackie our supporters, our advocates and our friends.
“Our 4- to 12-year-olds at The Main rely on us to be there for them during the summer months, ready with healthy meals and snacks, plenty of fun activities, mentorship and safe spaces,” she continues. “It’s heartwarming to see how everyone pulls together to give The Main such valuable resources and, in the process, lift up these kids by helping us to give them a memorable summer.”
Some of these younger children are second-generation participants at CRYP, which has been serving children and families on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation for more than 30 years. The Main is CRYP’s first point of contact with Cheyenne River’s children, and according to Garreau, this is a critical time.
“If we can engage them as young children at The Main, they are more likely to transition to our Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center and participate in life-changing programs like our teen internships,” she explains. “They’ll have so many opportunities to learn job and life skills that will serve them well into adulthood, from individual classes and workshops to internships and even fellowship opportunities.”
After the Sweet Tooth for Youth fundraiser kicks off at Eagle Butte’s Dairy Queen on Sunday, May 19, CRYP will post regular fundraising updates on social media.
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.