CRYP is now accepting donations for its 2019 School Supplies Drive. The official distribution is scheduled to take place at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2, 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.
“At our distribution on Aug. 2, kids of all ages will be able to choose the supplies they need for a successful school year,” says Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “They can make sure they have everything on their grade lists, choose the colors and styles they like best, and have fun preparing for their first day.
“We are dedicated to making sure our Cheyenne River Lakota children are able to have the same experiences that all American children cherish,” she continues. “Back-to-school shopping is one of those experiences. We also want to make life a little easier for them by supporting their families, guardians and caregivers. Too many families here cannot stretch their budgets further, particularly if their households contain multiple children—we understand that, and we want them to know we’re here for them.”
Generous partners and donors across the country are helping to make this distribution possible. In addition to school supplies, CRYP also will be distributing bar soap packs and hygiene kits from Running Strong for American Indian Youth, as well as Toms Shoes from Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA).
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, which serves 20 communities across our reservation,” Garreau explains. “They also can pick up needed household supplies and baby items on a regular basis.”
Those who have current Family Services memberships will receive invitations for their children to attend the distribution on Aug. 2. 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 support the 2019 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 click here. All contributions need to be in-house no later than Tuesday, July 30, 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 (@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.