As schools on South Dakota’s Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation prepare to welcome children back to in-person learning on Mar. 8, the staff at the Cheyenne River Youth Project is getting ready to commemorate the occasion with a special, and safe, Back to School Bash. Open to all school-aged children, the free public event is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 5.

The CRYP Back to School Bash will be held curbside, allowing parents to drive through with their children. CRYP will provide homemade spaghetti dinners and brownies to go, and each child will receive a candy bag.

“Our kids have been remote learning for a long time, and they’ve really missed school,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “They’re so excited to go back to school, and we want to acknowledge how important this is to them. We’re looking forward to celebrating this positive step forward for our community, together.”

Drive-thru meals and food distributions — like the massive 1,100-box food distribution on Feb. 23, pictured here — have become critical components of CRYP’s ongoing community services during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the youth project continues to offer its annual Family Services distributions for members — which include holiday gifts, school supplies, winter clothing, household supplies, and baby items.

In the coming days, CRYP also will be providing school supplies to teachers at several schools on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. To donate school supplies for CRYP initiatives throughout the year, visit and click the “In-Kind Donation” button.

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 And, to stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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.