Cheyenne River Youth Project
Cheyenne River youth and their family members gather at Cokata Wiconi for a College Night special event.

Cultural Exchange: International University Students to Share Experiences

CRYP
8/4/14

On Thursday, August 7, the Cheyenne River Youth Project will welcome students from St. Charles, Missouri-based Lindenwood University for a special edition of the 2014 College Night Series. This free College Night event, which is scheduled for 5 to 6 p.m. at the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center, officially will launch the 25-year-old, not-for-profit youth project’s Fall College Programming.

According to Tammy Eagle Hunter, CRYP’s youth programs director, the Lindenwood University students are coming to Eagle Butte, South Dakota, in conjunction with the SWAMP-IN volunteer group. Also based in the St. Charles-St. Louis region, this volunteer group has been serving Cheyenne River youth and families through the youth project for many years and, in fact, is known as “the St. Louis Branch of CRYP.”

“The Lindenwood University group, for the most part, comprises international students,” Eagle Hunter said. “We’ve invited them to share their experiences with starting school in an entirely new place and culture, which we feel will resonate with our young people here on Cheyenne River.”

Pre-teens and teens are welcome to attend, along with their family members. As with all College Nights, the August 7 event will incorporate information about the students’ application processes, degree programs, financial aid, social activities and support networks. In addition, a question-and-answer session will allow local youth to learn more from the visiting students.

“We’ve always believed in the power of our youth project as an exchange program,” Eagle Hunter said. “Our volunteers have as much to take away from their experiences here as our young people do. We’re really looking forward to this week’s College Night, because the presence of international students will give everyone a special opportunity for meaningful cultural exchange.”

CRYP first started hosting College Nights in 2007. The program allows visiting volunteer groups from schools around the country to help educate local teens about applying for and attending college. Now in its eighth year, College Nights are still a mainstay of the spring calendar at Cokata Wiconi—and they are now expanding into fall calendar as well.

“We’re using this special international edition of College Night as a kick-off to launch our Fall College Programming,” Eagle Hunter said. “We hope to offer a college fair, as well as various job fairs, to help reinforce the importance of secondary education.”

Eagle Hunter also noted that CRYP would like to see its higher-education informational programs continue to expand beyond the spring season.

“College Night started with our ‘Alternative Spring Break’ service groups, and traditionally the events have run from March to May, but we’d like to offer similar programming year-round,” she said. “That’s our vision, and we believe it’s the best way to support our young people as they develop the tools they need to pursue their dreams beyond high school.”

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. To stay up to date on the latest CRYP news and events, follow the youth project on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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