On Wednesday, August 20, the Cheyenne River Youth Project hosted its annual School Supplies Drive distribution in the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center gymnasium. Now, just days later, the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project has already provided 135 families and 511 children—from Headstart through high school—with the school supplies they need to start the new school year off right.
Supplies included backpacks, protractors, compasses, calculators, mechanical pencils, writing tablets, fat pencils, fat crayons, folders, pencil cases, notebook paper, kid-friendly scissors, erasers, glue sticks, pencils, pens and rulers. This annual distribution is part of CRYP’s Family Services program, which was founded in 2002 to manage the organization’s influx of in-kind donations throughout the year.
“Students and families who attended the distribution event last Wednesday were able to choose which supplies they wanted,” said Pamela Stolz, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer who works full time at CRYP and helped coordinate the event. “Anyone coming in after that day was able to take home a pre-filled backpack loaded with supplies.”
Cheyenne River Youth Project
The Cheyenne River Youth Project hosted its annual School Supplies Drive distribution on August 20.
Many of the donations came from Alexandria, Virginia-based Running Strong for American Indian Youth, and numerous individual donors contributed to this year’s School Supplies Drive as well. With their support, CRYP was able to ensure that hundreds of children, and their families, on the impoverished Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation were able to enjoy the equivalent of that eagerly anticipated back-to-school shopping trip.
“Our kids want and deserve the same types of happy experiences enjoyed by American children across the country,” said Julie Garreau, CRYP’s executive director. “Just imagine facing that first day of school empty-handed, without the tools you need to be successful. Each year, our staff, volunteers, donors and friends work hard to make sure that our children don’t feel different or disadvantaged. Hundreds of kids are relying on us, so we’re deeply grateful for the support we receive from around the country.”
To participate in CRYP distributions like the School Supplies Drive, a local family can simply join the Family Services program for a $30 membership fee. That one-time payment covers all members of that family for the entire year, and it includes all the annual distributions, from school supplies and winter clothing to the long-running Christmas Toy Drive. It also includes much-needed household supplies and baby items, as well as a heat-match program and assistance with home improvements.
To learn more about the Cheyenne River Youth Project and its programs, and for information about making donations and volunteering, call 605-964-8200 or visit LakotaYouth.org.