My name is Laure Lachaud, and I’m from New York. I’m 30 years old now, and my life path has been significantly impacted by my work at CRYP.
I first came out to Eagle Butte almost 10 years ago, a kid who had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Since coming to CRYP, I’ve focused my career in the nonprofit area, which is where I currently work.
Back then, I was looking for volunteer opportunities, and I came across CRYP on a volunteer group navigator online. I knew I wanted to work with kids, and I didn’t really know anything about Native Americans or native communities, so I was hoping this would be a great learning experience.
I initially worked at CRYP for about 18 months. I loved working with the kids and getting to know them. I also really loved interacting with the community, making connections with people. And, I enjoyed collaborating with other volunteers and staff to make fun, effective programs.
So, I’ve been coming back ever since… at least once a year, for nine years, for the annual Christmas Toy Drive. I still love the people I get to work with at CRYP, and the people I’ve met and befriended in Eagle Butte. And I love being able to see the kids I’ve worked with grow up.
CRYP provides so many benefits to the community—the Main and the Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center, the nutritional programs and the Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) garden, the internships for the teens, and all the educational programs open to the community. That’s on top of the Christmas Toy Drive and so many other wonderful family services.
I didn’t really come out to the Cheyenne River reservation years ago with any expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised by the welcome I received from the whole community. People should know that, if they come to CRYP, they should expect to make friends for life.