Abstract: Youth Enrichment Programs on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Youth Enrichment Programs on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Native American Reservations today face serious issues regarding poverty, health and quality of life. It is difficult to briefly describe the many factors that have contributed to the challenges that reservations face today. However, the complicated history between the United States government and the American Indian population has lead to pressing issues of failing economies, staggeringly high unemployment rates, increased health issues and a housing crisis.

These issues have been allowed to worsen over the past decades and despite the involvement the United States had in creating these issues, the government has been done to remedy the situation. Simply Smiles is a non-profit organization that works on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. This organization works to provide a brighter future for impoverished families on the reservation through a holistic approach that forges a path of self-sufficiency.

With the Charles Center research grant, I will be interning with Simply Smiles and running youth engagement programs and opportunities. This will include working alongside a youth employment preparation program, uniquely named the “kidtern” (kid intern) program, as well as programs involving STEM, agriculture and the environment and other initiatives. The grant will serve to fund these engaging opportunities for the underprivileged youth on the reservation.

These program initiatives will planning and executing STEM activities, field trips, a retreat, and other opportunities for youth enrichment and engagement. The goal of this is to create a fun and engaging summer for the children in La Plant, SD on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.