This Friday, July 5, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will close its doors for a very special occasion. In the wake of the wildly successful 5th annual RedCan invitational graffiti jam, the grassroots, nonprofit youth organization will be hosting Staff Appreciation Day.

The day will begin with a blessing. The staff will enjoy lunch, team-building activities and ice cream together, and then they will go home early for a well-earned and much-needed break.

“We want to take a day to recognize our staff members who are here, day in and day out, dedicated to this organization and the people they serve,” says Meghan Tompkins, CRYP’s deputy director. “They work long hours, they work nights and weekends, and they take their work home with them—often sacrificing their own family time when duty calls. 

“They build meaningful, lasting relationships with Cheyenne River’s children and families, relationships that will last a lifetime,” she continues. “They’re constantly researching new ways to engage the kids and ensure they have access to the innovative, culturally relevant programming they deserve and opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them.”

The Staff Appreciation Day is more than just a thank you to the youth programming staff. It also acknowledges the importance of the Keya (Turtle) Cafe & Coffeeshop staff who are at the CRYP campus at 7 a.m. every day to provide coffee, specialty drinks, smoothies, baked goods and meals. 

The cafe will be open to serve the public from 7:30 to 11 a.m. on Friday. Afterward, cafe staff will be able to join the rest of the CRYP team for Staff Appreciation Day.

“They make sure our social enterprises run smoothly,” Tompkins says. “We couldn’t operate our cafe and gift shop businesses without them, and we want them to know how much they mean to us. We also will be recognizing our Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Garden manager, who works with our Native Food Sovereignty interns every day and makes our garden look amazing while only using organic products; and our finance manager and administrative staff, who keep all the wheels turning.”

CRYP will reopen its doors for regular youth programming and Keya Cafe hours on Monday, July 8.

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.