About Us

IMG_0615Yvonne “Tiny” DeCory founder of the BEAR Project, Eileen Janis her Co-Director are among those working to stop suicides on Pine Ridge. If the reservation’s suicide epidemic were a hurricane, they are standing in the eye of the storm.

Tiny, Eileen and their student volunteers (many of them attempt survivors) perform musical & dance skits, helping kids struggling with reading, and serious issues of life on the reservation. The BEAR Project is a 501c3 Non-Profit with support from our friends around the world, making us even more effective. We run number of Community Events & Programs for the youth, the Pine Ridge community and beyond.

.Emerging Adulthood Program – We help the youth into adulthood though assisting with the following. 

  • Assist with completing paperwork to enter into job core programs, college or job applications.
  • Provide mini grants to pay for application fees.
  • Provide mini grants to pay for State or Tribal ID’s for enrollment in college, travel, employment, military and job core programs.
  • We provide our young adults headed to college w/supplies they will need such as laundry soap, blankets, pillows, sheets, sleeping bags, personal hygiene items, school supplies and snacks.

SAY YES TO THE DRESS/WOOT WOOT TO THE SUIT- Prom is a super special time for our youth. We love to help them to look and feel their best. We service over 300 students annually from Pine Ridge High School, Red Cloud, Porcupine, Allen, Wounded Knee, Wamblee, Kyle, Oelrichs, along w/bordering schools in Hot Springs, St Francis, Rushville Nebraska, Gordon Nebraska and Rapid City.  

  • Year round we collect women and men’s formal wear, shoes, cosmetics, jewelry for our prom season.
  • We partner with beauty industry professionals to provide hair styling, make up artistry and male grooming for prom.
  • We are open extended hours to accommodate the needs of students attending prom.
  • We never let a student in need go without. If we don’t have it, then we reach out to our partners all over the world to fulfill the need.


  • We collect nonperishable food items for our pantry to provide emergency food needs.
  • From our onsite walk in closet, we have provided clothing, shoes, winter coats, blankets to hundreds of people a month.
  • We provide firewood and organize firewood drives for people in dire need.

Community is key and we make sure to reach out to the people who are in need by providing services and being available.

  • South Dakota State Prison outreach by organizing trips for the children of prisoners to see them on Mother’s and Father’s Day.
  • Free drug testing to the youth and with getting treatment, though our close relationships with medical and rehabilitation providers.
  • We monitor social media 24/7/365, reaching out to anyone who is posting about suicide, or who is in crisis.
  • Our monthly give away provides, housewares, toys, clothing, shoes, tools, hygiene products, and etc. for approx. 1200+ people.
  • Annual November & December “Lakota Feast” Community Dinner- We organize and provide the food for a community dinner that serves hundreds of families.
  • Our Holiday Toy Drive provides toys, games, school supplies, hygiene products, clothing, shoes and blankets to hundreds of families.
  • We send out a hundred texts a day to the youth to let them know we love them and they are not alone.
  • We help provide to new mothers and families, baby clothes, diapers, baby food and formula.

CRISIS MANAGEMENT- ON CALL  24/7/365- Rain or shine, sleet or snow, in wee hours of the morning or late at night, we are there.  We ease confusion by suggesting options, and being the strength they need to help with making difficult decisions.

  • Suicide Attempt- We travel to the location, making sure they are en-route to the hospital, or there’s emergency medical dispatched. We provide options for long term & in-treatment for the attempt survivor, along w/counseling for suicide-loss/attempt survivors.
  • Suicide- Because we are so active in the community; we know our families and the youth very well. We provide different plans to help ease suffering. If a family is in extreme poverty we will provide food and beverages for them in the time of need.
  • In all crises, we help to provide spiritual, emotional and physical support to the immediate family, spouse/partner of the loved one. We always bring sweet grass and sage, as this is an important part of the Lakota culture, helping to ease anxiety. We work with Medicine people who accompany us at times, and they will sing a song to help with suffering.  We also pray with the family and/or spouse/partner. However, we are aware that some of our families may have different needs based on their religious beliefs or tradition, therefore we will act, and pray accordingly.
  • Aftercare- If there is a suicide, we help with funeral costs and finding counseling for the suicide-loss survivors. We are in constant contact with the attempt survivor, making sure they follow through with their recovery plan of action. We also make sure the suicide-loss/attempt survivors are following through with their recovery/healing.


Yvonne “Tiny” DeCory- Be one of her 2,500+ Facebook friends- send her a friend request today!

Eileen Janis – Be one of her 3,500+ Facebook friends- send her a friend request today! 


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