On the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, children are eagerly anticipating the start of the new school year. It’s special this time around because, after a year of remote schooling and the fear and uncertainty around Covid-19, they are going back in person.
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One thing is certain: To start their new school year the right way, children must have the school supplies they need. Unfortunately, many Lakota families struggle to find room in their household budgets to accommodate this critical need. That’s where the Cheyenne River Youth Project comes in.
“For decades, we have assisted our children and families as they embark on a new school year,” said Jerica Widow, CRYP’s youth programs director. “In the past, we’ve done this with a large annual distribution at our campus. This year, instead of hosting such a large gathering, we’re connecting directly with our Family Services members to fulfill their family requests.
“We’re also connecting with teachers in our schools across the Cheyenne River reservation to fulfill their specific classroom needs,” she continued. “By handling our school supplies distribution this way, we’ll reach even more children and families.”
The nonprofit youth organization has built supplies lists for kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through eighth grade, and ninth through 12th grade. Based on what’s required for those age groups, CRYP has determined that $30, $40, $60, and $70 will sponsor a child at each level.
“Once a sponsor has contributed the funds, we’ll handle all the shopping and safe delivery to that child,” Widow explained. “And if the sponsor wishes to contribute a backpack as well, an additional $30 will allow us to incorporate that.”
To sponsor a child through CRYP’s 2021 School Supplies Drive, simply visit lakotayouth.org/school-supplies-drive. Here, you can make a secure online donation, or contribute an in-kind donation through Amazon, where specific wish lists itemize the school supplies needed for each set of grades.
“We encourage people to use AmazonSmile, where they can designate CRYP as their preferred charity,” Widow said. “Amazon will donate a percentage of the purchase price to us. It’s another way to support CRYP; we’ve raised thousands of dollars through the AmazonSmile program to date.”