My name is Natalia. I’m 26 years old, and I’m from Barcelona, Spain. I arrived at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in October 2018, and I’ll be leaving this month—I have completed five months of volunteer service with CRYP.

I started working when I was 16 years old, and most of my jobs prior to college involved children. I prepared activities for both adults and children in a camping area, taught children to roller skate, and helped them with their homework. 

In college, I earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in supply chain management. I went on to work in a bank, and then I was a supply chain manager for a takeaway food company. Most recently, I served with youth-focused volunteer projects in Germany, Kenya, Nepal and Spain.

One day, I was searching online for a new volunteer opportunity in America. I found the Cheyenne River Youth Project listed at I checked out CRYP’s website and decided to contact them. 

I had always hoped to visit America. I wanted to improve my English, have new experiences and get to know a new culture. I thought this youth project would be a good place to do it, because all my life I have pursued work that involves children.

Most of my volunteer service here at CRYP has been at The Main, the youth center for 4- to 12-year-olds. I prepare and supervise recreational activities for the kids, plan and prepare daily meals and snacks for them, and keep the building clean and ready for the next group of kids. 

My favorite tasks are preparing the activities for the kids, especially for programs like Main University and special occasions like our monthly birthday parties. I love seeing the kids go home happy, and I will miss all the events and activities we share with the children—and with this community.

CRYP is so important for the Cheyenne River community. It gives the younger children a safe, fun place to go for a few hours after school each day. It provides teens with internships to help prepare them for their future. And it organizes family services and special events for all the generations.

After my departure from CRYP, I’ll be traveling through South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. From there, I’ll be going to Vancouver, where I’ll work as a live-in babysitter for two months. I hope to enjoy even more volunteer projects around the world in the years to come.