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I Am Legacy: 9th Annual Backpack Event

A bouncy house at College Park on Saturday, August 20, for the 9th Annual Backpack Event provided by I Am Legacy. (Photo by Estella Claymore)

RAPID CITY—American Indian parents and children gathered at College Park on Saturday, August 20, for the 9th Annual Backpack Event provided by I Am Legacy. The non-profit group of more than a dozen volunteers provided food, a large bounce castle, and distributed 500 backpacks filled with school supplies to those in need.

“I’m just so grateful that I was able to come down today,” said Anne-Marie C. DeMarrias. “I was able to get two backpacks today and it is such a relief not to have to worry about stressing on where I was going to get school supplies this year.”

DeMarrias is a mother of three. She was able to get her two daughters backpacks and school supplies thanks to I Am Legacy.

“There’s obviously a need,” DeMarrias said, pointing to the very long line of families still waiting their turn to get a backpack. “I just want to say that they did a really good job. Everyone had water, food, hand sanitizer and wore masks. This event was very well put together.”

I Am Legacy founder Eric Bringswhite says he started the backpack event so the Indian youth in Rapid City can see that their community cares about them and that they have a future.

“I don’t want to use the term ‘at risk’ youth, because that’s not right. These kids…all they see is violence. Take that last shooting. 17 years old? Man! That’s way too young. These kids need to see things like this. Their community coming together to support them and help them make better choices,” Eric Bringswhite said siting the recent shootings in Rapid City involving American Indian teenagers. “They need to know that their community isn’t all about violence. It’s about this (pointing to the event crowd) the Rapid City Fire Department came and had their fire truck out here for the kids and the police were even here letting the kids ask them questions, the bounce house the park…this is what they need to see.”

Along with 500 backpacks with school supplies being distributed, two children’s bicycles and extra school items were also given away at the end of the event.

“I just want to say how grateful I am for this event,” said Dani Hermanson. “I have five kids and I had no idea where I was going to get them all school supplies this year, and I am just so grateful to I Am Legacy and the volunteers for all the hard work they do for this community.”

Backpacks were distributed without needing to provide any information. I Am Legacy can be found on Facebook and Instagram. Their next event is currently scheduled for September 21. Please check their Facebook page for more information.

(Contact Estella Claymore at

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