An Open Letter to the Cheyenne River Youth Project

I want to start off by saying my time with you was inadequate, but only because it was nowhere near enough time to know all of your stories, and they all deserve to be shared. The stories I did learn had two things in common. One is unthinkable adversity. Whether poverty, abuse, or neglect, each of you have faced more than any child should have to. Thankfully, the other thing you all have in common is strength. Each of you is still here today and that in itself is a feat. In a place where suicide is so common, by continuing to fearlessly face the future, you are doing something amazing. I’m not sure if I will ever see any of you again, but I will never forget you. I have no idea where each of you will go on from here. Some of you have hopes for college, and I know you have it in you. Even having the goal is more than many people around you have. For those in which this is not even close to an option, I wish you the best in life, in getting a job, in raising a family, in supporting them, and breaking the cycle. For the children who are facing the unimaginable, sometimes you slip up and your anger gets the best of you and there are days when you wish you had the privilege of other people, but you are so much more than what has been done to you and you are stronger than anyone who has had it easier than you: Most importantly, so many of you always find away to smile and be happy despite everything happening. You will grow up hearing legends of the strength of your ancestors and know that the strength to prosper lies within you as well. I wish you all the best in life.

Ms. Laura 

 

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