The Cheyenne River Youth Project has announced that more than 500 children are receiving school supplies through this year’s School Supplies Drive, thanks to the nonprofit youth organization’s partnership with Running Strong for American Indian Youth. During the official distribution event on Monday, Aug. 5, more than 350 young people received their school supplies, as well as Toms Shoes from Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA); CRYP will be filling orders for another 150-plus children through the first day of school.
CRYP Family Services members from 20-plus communities across South Dakota’s remote Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, which is the size of Connecticut, are eligible to participate in this important annual distribution. According to Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director, this day of one-stop shopping brings both joy and relief to children and grown-ups alike.
“Our Cheyenne River parents, grandparents and other care-givers often cannot travel to Pierre or Rapid City for major school shopping, even if they did have enough room in the household budget to do so,” she said. “Having this annual program right here in Eagle Butte makes life a little bit easier for them.”
During the Aug. 5 distribution, children had the opportunity to choose backpacks, protractors, compasses, calculators, pencils, pens, crayons, writing tablets, folders, kid-friendly scissors, erasers, glue sticks, rulers and so much more. And, like children everywhere, they were able to experience the excitement of preparing for their first day of school.
“The fact that we send hundreds of kids to school with everything they need—without feeling different or disadvantaged due to their circumstances—is a testament to the power of working together toward a common purpose,” Garreau says. “We’re grateful to Running Strong, PWNA and so many generous individual donors across the country for joining with us in this initiative. It means so much.”
The annual School Supplies Drive is part of CRYP’s Family Services program, which was founded in 2002 to manage the organization’s influx of in-kind donations throughout the year. When a local family joins the program, all its members are covered for the entire year; the membership covers annual distributions, from school supplies and winter clothing to the long-running Christmas Toy Drive, as well as regular supplies of much-needed household and baby items.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or visit lakotayouth.org. And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@lakotayouth and @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.