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News Release

Cheyenne River Youth Project

This Wednesday, the Cheyenne River Youth Project is inviting families to join staff and volunteers for a special STEM activity at Cokata Wiconi (Center of Life). Scheduled for 3-5 p.m. in the gymnasium, the event will allow participants of all ages to experiment with Sphero balls provided by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Sphero essentially is a robotic ball controlled by the Sphero app for tablets and smartphones. Once the app is installed, the Sphero robot ball is turned on, and Sphero has connected to the device via Bluetooth, the adventure begins—from games and simple programs that allow the robot to change colors and repeat movement patterns to in-depth STEM lessons and challenges. 

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At a 2017 American Indian Science and Engineering Society enrichment camp in Eagle Butte, for example, children were able to use the Sphero balls to design their own fishing boats and rescue sunken toys in a kiddie pool. They also channeled their artistic abilities and used the Sphero balls to draw their own group mural, demonstrating that the technology works well with both STEM and STEAM. 

“This will be an exciting opportunity for families to explore STEM activities together in a new and engaging way,” said Jerica Widow, Cheyenne River Youth Project’s youth programs director. “It’s also going to be fun, simply playing with the robots and experimenting with what they can do. Each Sphero device really is a robot, smart toy and full gaming system, all in one!” 

Cheyenne River Youth Project’s Keya (Turtle) Cafe & Coffeeshop will cater the family-friendly event. Included will be plenty of fresh, locally grown vegetables from the youth project’s 2.5-acre Winyan Toka Win (Leading Lady) Garden. The event is free and open to the public. 

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 And, to stay up to date on the latest Cheyenne River Youth Project 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.