About South Dakota

Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to volunteer at a youth centre located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. The non-profit youth centre serves children and families living on the reservation and is a grass-roots organisation run by members of the Lakota tribe and the surrounding communities. The Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation is home to around 15,000 residents and lies within two of the poorest counties in the United States. The unemployment rate is high, occasionally reaching over 75% in some areas, and the majority of families live at or below the poverty level (according to USA standards). As much as 50% of the population of the reservation is under the age of 18 years old, which means that youth and outreach programs have become vitally important to securing a viable future for the Lakota people.

For more information about the program please visit the South Dakota program page on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent South Dakota Journals:

Cheyenne River Youth Project – completed

 Posted by kreed at 2:35 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on Cheyenne River Youth Project – completed
Jul 192013

Noah and Craig working the garden

My time with the kids in Eagle Butte have come to an end.  I never thought 8 weeks could go by so fast!  When your day starts at 7:00 AM and ends at 10:00 PM, time kind of sneaks by.  I have so many memorable moments from this trip, from Llanna calling me Grandma, then realizing she calls everyone either Grandma or Auntie to being invited to a game of 21 by a teen or being recognized by a women’s group that has started a new healthy walk.  I will add more at a later time; just a short update today and a few pictures.

2 weeks

 Posted by kreed at 5:18 pm  South Dakota  Comments Off on 2 weeks
Jun 272013

Time flies when you are having fun, working hard and meeting great people.  Since last I wrote I have met a great group of young people and teenagers from Chicago.  They traveled in a van to contribute a week of their time to service.  Then a group  from Colorado Springs with donations of time and gifts in support of the kids.  To top it off a new volunteer comes with her granddaughter and turns out she is from Utica, New York – my hometown.  I have made many new friends; and Mary and I can compare and share stories about Utica.  We have already identified people we both know.  New friends with new ideas to share are only a side benefit; the real thrill is the kids!  I will post pictures when I figure out how to!  In the mean time, I can say I have witnessed words and actions from amazing little people and “Real Cool” – at least in their own eyes , Teens.  The little ones pull your heart strings with each interaction.  The teens are Just Teens!

The little ones are touched by things as simple as a push on a swing, are captured by taking a trip to the past, future, another land etc through a book, to seeing their work of paint art posted on the wall, to digging in the garden.  I see why people become teachers.  They just show their gratitude all the time!

The name of the game with the teens is Basketball!  Boys and Girls are active participants.  I’ve been on the court with them, shooting MY game, but they are too cool to let me play.  I can’t tell if they are wondering why this old black lady is on their court or if they actually think I can play!  I asked if I could join with a few girls and one told me ” we have a game going on”. I took that as a thanks but no thanks! DUH! I catch on pretty quickly.  On another basketball adventure a teen asked if I had been in the NBA!  I took that as a polite put down and responded; yes National Business Association – we shared a good laugh, then I got the “is she crazy look”

Eagle Butte is a small town and I’m getting to see the kids and parents when I go out for a run.  A 5k let’s me cover the east and west side!  The kids waive when they see me now and they know we are from Main when we visit LTM!

Days slip by

 Posted by kreed at 3:43 pm  South Dakota  Comments Off on Days slip by
Jun 022013

Each morning I plan to journal and before know it the new day arrives, so I’ll cover the week!

WOW we worked in the garden, painted the Main, took a weekend Trek and enjoyed Hot Springs!  We cleaned the garden rows to prepare for planting; before planting a Lakota Elder performed the blessing ceremony.  We planted onions, jalapeño peppers, sweet peppers, carrots, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and spaghetti squash, I’m sure I forgot something!  Everyone just dug, slipped, slided, and enjoyed the MUD and planting.  I believe the kids had the most fun and are anxiously waiting for the time to pick all the goodies.

Since this was a planning week so we prepared for a fresh start with a paint party in the Main. Everything looks so bright and inviting…the kids will enjoy.  Big plans are in the works for the first days the kids return.  Exercise activities, reading fun, cooking and eating, and lots of arts and crafts.

The volunteer team was lucky enough to have Tara and her car!  We were able to travel to Rapid City to climb the face of the Crazy Horse monument.  This is only allowed twice a year. Talk about great planning.  We shared a quaint hotel, shopped, enjoyed a walking tour of downtown Rapid City and topped it off with a ride through the Badlands and a refreshing hot springs bath.  Weekend trekking done – getting ready to welcome smiling faces tomorrow.



 Posted by kreed at 2:19 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on Running
May 262013

I was able to get a pretty good run in yesterday early in the morning. When people start moving around so do their dogs.  There are a lot of dogs here and it is hard to tell which are gentle enough to be safe around. I decided to stay close and finish my run in the safety of the street in front of the center, and inside the gym. I think I’ll try my hand at learning basketball since the teens are so into it.


 Posted by kreed at 2:08 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on Likes
May 262013

I’ve been told the expected number of kids in attendance has been down this week (10 youth and 30 teens)  normal attendance is more like 70-80 teens and 30 youth.  Reasons are, school just let out, families have a recent financial windfall so good time to take a short vacation trip. In the week coming, the Main & Teen Center are closed.  Time for deep cleaning, planting the garden, and planning programs for the summer.  Kids will return on June 3rd. The little kids are excited and want to do everything at the same time, while for the teens, basketball is the like!

First Day

 Posted by kreed at 2:58 pm  South Dakota  Comments Off on First Day
May 212013

Yesterday was a full travel day.  I left home about 3:30AM and reached The Cheyenne River Youth Project at 11:00PM.  Flight connection delays created this issue. I met Mariel, Judith, and Petra; other volunteers. All are in College or University. The team hosted a seminar today.  We cooked, served, cleaned and got to know each other.  The staff members are great and I can see dedicated. Julie is a take charge leader.  Tammy drove the ninety miles to pick us up, baby in tow! No kids today due to special event.  Orientation and kids tomorrow, and with any luck the rain will end so I can squeeze in a good run.

First Day

 Posted by Elizabeth Carr at 4:09 pm  South Dakota  Comments Off on First Day
Oct 012012

finally here!!!!!!   Had a great day!!!!! walked  with  Ali ( another volunteer )this morning/afternoon. then got picked up by John and anthony to be brought backt o the center. at the center now about to go to bed. Lizzy

Cheyenne River Youth Project- Eagle Butte USA

 Posted by Kellie Ayre at 10:02 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on Cheyenne River Youth Project- Eagle Butte USA
Aug 252012

Have settled in to life @ the Main in Eagle Butte. So far have been involved in some really great projects such as the Family Services Day where basic hygene and washing supplies are distributed to families in Eagle Butte. There is always somthing going on here for the community- we have had night basketball competition, a dance for the teens and will be involved in the up coming Pow wow for labor Day. The days are very full with tending the market garden and producing canned goods from the fresh veggies in the morning to running a literacy program with the kids in the afternoon. So far it has been extremely rewarding and great fun!


 Posted by Emily Rishel at 2:21 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on 5/18/11
May 182011

Yesterday morning was my orientation. We were briefly interrupted by a “pow wow” being held for the kids last day at school (which is today.) The pow wow was interesting, I hope to see another one before I leave. We then finished the orientation and had lunch, which was followed by a quick tour of the facilities. Then we worked turning the soil in the garden (my arms are sore this morning!) After working in the garden, it was time for the kids to arrive. I worked in “The Main” yesterday, which is where the kids 4-12 come. We played in the gym for a bit and then moved to arts and crafts. They ate and then had more play time until 8PM. After they left, the rest of the volunteers and I cleaned “The Main.” Afterwords, I took a walk with two of the other volunteers, and we then watched Lion King via VHS. Today I will experience the “Teen Center,” which is for kids 13-18.The weather is a bit depressing today. The sky is practically black and it is going to rain/storm any second. It is supposed to be like this for the next week… Ugh! Eagle Butte is definitely different. A very small place in the U.S. that many probably can’t even imagine- up until this point I definitely couldn’t. I’m excited for June 1. This is when the hours will be extended for all of the kids and more events will be held. I’m looking forward to being a bit busier and getting used to this type of life. I feel bad I’m having trouble getting used to this. I’m the volunteer here for the shortest period of time, but feel like I’m having the most trouble adjusting. I guess time will tell.


 Posted by Emily Rishel at 3:15 am  South Dakota  Comments Off on 5/17/11
May 172011

Travel day/first night has passed. It is different than I expected, but that’s what I’m here for, right? I met some of the children last night and they seem so sweet. I’m excited to see them again later today. The other volunteers are from all over- New Zealand, Germany, Michigan, New York and Texas. They all seem nice as well. They have been here for very long periods of time. My orientation is at 9:30 (Mountain Time) this morning. Until the children are out of school they don’t arrive at the Youth Project until 4PM. We start working at 10AM usually, then take our lunch break noon-130. We then prepare for the children to arrive. They stay till 8PM and then clean. Starting June 1, the children will come at 1PM. The weather is still questionable, but that’s May. This morning it’s pretty chilly and extremely windy!

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