Lower Brule, S.D. is in Lyman County. The community is located within the Lower Brule Indian Reservation. An organization called The Boys and Girls Club of Lower Brule provides youth development and has two sites; one is a youth center for ages 6-12 and the other is a teen center for 12-18. The club is a drop off facility that focuses on fun, safety, citizenship, and education to promote a positive environment for the youth.
In June of 2015 the Boys & Girls Club of Lower Brule lost its building to straight line, eighty plus mile an hour winds. Less than two weeks later, it lost one of two vans to an electrical fire. The club quickly bought a very old used van as that was all it could afford at the time, as youth are dependent upon it for transportation. The van that was purchased had more character than dependability and it was to the point it could no longer be trusted for use outside of Lower Brule. It was impossible to get parts for it due to its age. The youth are dependent upon us to transport them safely to the club from school and home after school. The youth are rewarded with movie and bowling trips. It was becoming harder and harder to provide transportation service with the current vans, both of which were well over ten years old and had seen many hard miles.
USDA Rural Development stepped in and assisted the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Brule through a Community Facility grant of $27,000 and an applicant contribution of $9,000 for the club to purchase a newer model 15-passenger van.
Essentially for the youth, club staff are the boots on the ground who become role models, provide a safe, stable place to learn and develop outside of school, and provide opportunities for advancement throughout the community. The transport vehicle helps advance the club’s mission to enable all young people, especially those who need them most, to reach their full potential and produce, caring, responsible citizens.
"The new van has meant so much. It means safely getting our kids to and from school and club. It means more kids get to go to the Discovery Center this summer to learn, and of course it means fun field trips," said Tonya Derdall, Executive Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Lower Brule. "My staff now have a piece of mind that they will reach their destination safely. The van also has working air and heat which the older van no longer did. However, everybody’s favorite feature is its back-up camera. The back-up camera means safety for our kids and a peace of mind for our staff. We cannot thank USDA enough for helping us get this van."