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EAGLE BUTTE | A group of volunteers transformed an empty site into a state-of-the-art playground on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation earlier this summer.

In April, Eagle Butte’s children designed their dream playground. On July 28, in just six hours, 38 volunteers created a KaBoom playground based off their drawings at the Cheyenne River Youth Project in Eagle Butte.

Cheyenne River Youth Project is a not-for-profit organization that provides programming for youth on the reservation. The organization says that play is essential to children’s development, and the CRYP "had an urgent need for this new play space" after aging equipment was removed in 2015.

“Our kids have been so sad without their playground, and they’ve asked so many times when we would be able to provide a new one,” said Julie Garreau, the youth project's executive director. “I’ve sustained myself for the last three years by imagining our kids running to the new playground, laughing and having fun. It’s been quite a journey to get to this point. Now it’s here … I can’t wait to drive to work and see that beautiful new play space where kids can have fun and get exercise on safe, new equipment.”

Volunteer partners included KaBoom, Playworld, Wells Fargo, the United Way, LDS Church, Partnership for Native Americans, Dietel Partners, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Property and Supply, and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Housing Authority. 

The playground is part of a broader effort led by Wells Fargo and KaBoom to make sure communities have great “play-ces” for kids and families. It is the first build by the partners.

“We deeply appreciate that the partners — and the volunteers — in this project sought to create an oasis where kids feel valued and loved, and where their potential is supported, nurtured and celebrated,” Garreau said. “That resonates with our own desire to provide our Lakota youth with access to a vibrant and more secure future, one in which they thrive.”

$10K goes to connect youth and officers

A camp for at-risk fifth- and sixth-graders in South Dakota was awarded $10,000 recently. 

The South Dakota Community Foundation announced in a June 11 news release that it had presented the grant to Volunteers of America Northern Rockies to support Camp POSTCARD. 

Camp POSTCARD, aka Peace Officers Striving to Create and Reinforce Dreams, is a "youth empowerment camp" for boys and girls who may come from at-risk or low-income homes and are "in need of positive, life-changing experiences and positive role-models."

The camp was held this summer at the Outlaw Ranch near Custer, and aimed to build relationships between the campers and law enforcement/criminal justice professionals from Black Hills communities. 

Local law enforcement officers, school resource officers, school personnel and community members identify youth who would benefit from the camp experience, and those invited can attend free of charge.

Bank donates more than 51K diapers

Black Hills Community Bank set a goal to donate 6,083 diapers to area organizations. 

It exceeded that goal just a bit. 

On July 11, the bank presented 51,963 diapers, split between the two organizations: the Cornerstone Women and Children's Home in Rapid City, and the Bella Pregnancy Resource Center in Spearfish. 

A news release from the bank said 44,349 of those diapers came from the Rapid City location and 9,348 from Spearfish. Both bank locations collected diapers all through June for the two area nonprofits, and several events were held to raise funds for the Diaper Drive.

“We are so pleased to be able to provide clean diapers to children in our community who need it most. I am very proud of our staff, customers, and community who have worked hard to be able to collect 281,991 diapers over the past eight years for this great cause,” said Jack Lynass, president and CEO of Black Hills Community Bank.

Youth organization granted $32K

Youth & Family Services in Rapid City has received more than $30,000 total in grants from three different organizations in recent months.

Great Western Bank gave YFS $20,000 during a special check presentation on June 27 at the organization's location at 120 E. Adams Street in Rapid City. The grant, according to a news release, was to support Youth & Family Service's expansion project. 

On Sept. 4, Black Hills Federal Credit Union announced it was donating $10,000 to the expansion project. 

The project, currently under construction, will add 67,252 square feet inside and 32,794 square feet outside to the current facility. YFS expects the expansion to be done by fall of 2019.

At the end of May, YFS announced in a news release a $2,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 

YFS said the grant would support its Boys' Health Program's summer reading initiative. The funds helped buy books, educational materials and "literacy-related incentives." 

Black Hills foundation distributes grants

The Black Hills Area Community Foundation announced grants for several entities this spring and summer. 

On May 5, Lifeways announced a $3,000 grant from the foundation.

Lifeways is an alcohol and drug prevention and treatment program. The funds will support "Building a Strong Workforce in the Addiction Field," according to a news release. Two of Lifeways' trained counselors will train seven other counselors in the implementation of an evidenced-based program used in programming.

Lifeways partners with the Rapid City Area Schools, City of Rapid City, S.D. Department of Social Services, Behavioral Health Program, John T. Vucurevich Foundation, Gwendolyn Stearns Foundation and community donors.

On June 7, The Hope Center in Rapid City announced it had received $2,000 from the foundation. 

The Hope Center is a drop-in day center for the homeless and those living in poverty. 

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Online editor

Copy desk/Compass editor for the Rapid City Journal.