Main University
The Main University, begun in January 2002, is designed to enhance the children’s current experience and education in school with a series of volunteer instructed classes on a variety of subjects. The classes this year have ranged from Cell Biology for Kids, Counting in German, and Beginner Gardening, to Lakota Heroes and Culture. The participants must complete four classes in a “semester” of eight weeks in order to graduate from the University. Children with five or more classes receive honors. The Graduates are given a small ceremony, complete with certificates of excellence, and a private sleepover party.

The Main University is effective in a variety of ways. Children are exposed to the vocabulary of higher education at a very young age, that may help to ease anxieties later on. In addition, the children get the benefit of learning from many different kinds of people, since our volunteers come from all over the U.S. and the world. Community volunteers with expertise are also invited to teach classes to the children, connecting our participants with local role-models who share our vision for Cheyenne River youth. The topics are always different, and children can always find classes that pique their curiosity.

Main University is not just about education, it is also about setting reasonable goals for success that our children can be proud of when they acheive. Poverty can lead to insecurity and many of our children are quite reserved as a result. With encouragement, however, we can help our children to find their voice and the confidence to express themselves. One participant even gave a graduation address when she was awarded the title of Valedictorian! Main University proves that children care about their education and expanding their horizons.

The program runs all year long, and is currently funded by the Cheyenne River Youth Project. All volunteers, groups and individuals, take part in planning and teaching classes.

Explore The Main

Arts & Crafts

All cultures utilize the arts to provide social commentary, whether it is the expression of emotions, the documentation of historical events, or the preservation of heritage. The Lakota, also, have a rich history as craftspeople and artisans, a tradition that CRYP respects and promotes in its activities. Learn more about Arts & Crafts at the Main.


At CRYP, literacy is not just about reading. It’s about developing comprehension skills, exploring new ways to express yourself, and appreciating different forms of communication. And, it’s about having fun. Learn more about Literacy at the Main.


A healthy body is vital for improving self-esteem, gaining confidence and keeping the mind open to new ideas and information. Through our Wellness activities, our children enjoy recreation, mentorship and teamwork while learning new skills. Learn more about Wellness at the Main.

Main University

Through an innovative series of staff- and volunteer-taught classes in a variety of subjects, our award-winning Main University enhances children’s current school experience—and lays the groundwork for the whole new world of higher education. Learn more about Main University.


We encourage children to attend The Main on a regular basis through our fun, creative and educational Clubs. In each session, the kids build on what they learned the previous week, and they strengthen their connections to their mentors, peers and Lakota values. Learn more about The Main’s Clubs.