For the ninth consecutive year, the Cheyenne River Youth Project and the local Dairy Queen in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, are joining forces to host a very special fundraising event that will benefit community’s youngest members. From Sunday, May 13 to Saturday, May 20, $1 from the purchase of each Blizzard, shake or malt will be donated to The Main, CRYP’s beloved youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds.

CRYP and DQ have a special highlight planned for this year’s fundraiser. On Saturday, May 9, Minneapolis-based graffiti artists Biafra Inc. and Wundr will be painting a mural in the DQ drive-thru; starting at 9 a.m., this live graffiti art event will last all day.
“Community members will know Biafra and Wundr from the RedCan invitational graffiti jam, which they have attended each year since its inception in 2015,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “They also are frequent guest instructors in our Waniyetu Wowapi (Winter Count) Lakota Youth Arts & Culture Institute, so we are honored that they’re joining us for this special fundraising initiative.”

During “Sweet Tooth for Youth,” the nonprofit youth project’s staff and DQ owners Lonnie and Jackie Heier are hoping to raise $2,000 to benefit The Main’s summer youth programming. These programs include Summer Literacy; Garden Club; clubs for biking, walking and running; arts and crafts; field trips; and other innovative daily activities.

“We’ve partnered with the Heiers for nearly a decade, and Lonnie currently serves on our board of directors,” Garreau said. “We’re grateful for their ongoing friendship, and for the support of our entire community during this annual fundraiser. Our kids rely on us to be there for them during the summer months, so it’s heartwarming to see how everyone pulls together to lift up these kids and help us give them a summer filled with fun, learning, and exciting new opportunities.”

Some of these younger children are second-generation participants at CRYP, which has been serving children and families on South Dakota’s remote, 2.8-million-acre Cheyenne River reservation for nearly 30 years. The Main is CRYP’s first point of contact with Cheyenne River’s children, and according to Garreau, this is a critical time.

“If we can engage them as young children at The Main, they are more likely to transition to our Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life) teen center and participate in life-changing programs like our teen internships,” she explained. “They’ll have so many opportunities to learn job and life skills that will serve them well into adulthood.”

When the fundraiser kicks off on Sunday, May 13, CRYP will post fundraising updates through Facebook and Twitter.
To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook (/LakotaYouth), Twitter (@LakotaYouth) and Instagram (@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.