Good Samaritan Society President and CEO Randy Berry and his wife Sonia want to make an indelible impact on the lives of Native American students. The couple, through the Good Samaritan Foundation, are establishing the Sanford Health Lakota Nation Scholarship.
“For me, this is my history and my career in healthcare. I was born in South Dakota. I have been in healthcare in South Dakota for the past 40 years,” says Randy. “Throughout my career, I have had many opportunities to interact with tribes and healthcare in our reserves. I have just seen many needs.”
Ongoing donations provide long-term support for two scholarships worth $2,500. Scholarships are awarded during the Lakota Nation Call in Rapid City.
Ali Langseth, executive director of the Good Samaritan Foundation, says the fund will “accelerate the existing program, not only for its sustainability, but will enable it to grow over time to support more students.”
“Education is really key”
While Randy was from the Webster area, Sonya grew up in Woods. After 22 years of service with the association, the former Director of Learning Services retired in 2018.
“Education is really the foundation of people being able to create the lives they want for themselves,” says Sonya. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to help with this hand.”
Each year, Native American high school students will apply for Post-Secondary Scholarships.
“Any kind of help that our students can get to help get to A2 is always appreciated and definitely needed,” says Danny Waking Eagle, Principal of St. Francis Indian School and member of the LNI Board of Directors.
Applications are already being submitted for this year’s LNI which will take place in Rapid City from December 15-18. Scholarship winners will be announced within 44NS An annual event featuring athletics, academics, fine arts, and Lakota culture.
“The Lakota Nation’s calling has always stood behind the academics,” says Danny. “We certainly appreciate collaborating with Sanford Health in realizing these scholarships.”
“Continue to increase” the number of scholarships
Randy and Sonia hope that students will use these scholarships to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, and more.
“What I hope is that 10 to 15 years from now there are kids who have benefited from this program and then put those skills back into the reserve,” Randy says.
Kids learning new skills and putting that talent back into custody to benefit everyone out there.
It’s just the beginning, Sonya adds, “and whether we contribute to the growth or others contribute to that growth, we hope to see that continue to grow.”
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