The Cheyenne River Youth Project announced today that it is seeking local community volunteers and long-term volunteers to help bring Santa Claus to more than 1,700 children on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation through this year’s Wo Otúh’an Wi Toy Drive. In the next three weeks, CRYP staff and volunteers need to sort, wrap and deliver thousands of presents, ensuring that each child will receive four personalized gifts from his or her “Dear Santa” letter as well as much-needed winter clothing and school supplies.

Starting Monday, Dec. 16, local community volunteers can come to CRYP’s Eagle Butte campus anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to help wrap gifts at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life), which has been transformed into a 24-7 Santa’s Workshop. The nonprofit youth organization will be offering free coffee and treats for community volunteers.

“We’ll also have a big community wrapping party on Friday, Dec. 20 at Cokata Wiconi,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “We always look forward to that, because it’s a festive, easy and deeply rewarding way to give back. We love coming together with friends and neighbors to make sure our kids have a joyful, magical Christmas holiday.”

Garreau also noted that CRYP is in need of long-term volunteers who are willing to come to Eagle Butte to support staff during the long days leading up to the Christmas holiday. Whether they are coming for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, long-term volunteers will have access to on-campus housing—and will find they quickly become part of the CRYP family.

“Long-term volunteering is a wonderful thing to do if you’re on winter break, if you’re between jobs, or if you’re retired,” she said. “It’s a good way to learn about life here on Cheyenne River, and to be part of something that’s so much bigger than any one of us. In the 30-plus years I’ve been doing this, I’ve seen so many volunteers return year after year. They are family to us, and they become advocates for us in their own communities. It’s beautiful to witness.”

To learn more about volunteering, call (605) 964-8200 or click here. 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.