BHSU Make a Difference Initiative scholarship recipient to promote literacy in Spearfish

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, April 21, 2016/Categories: 2016

Black Hills State University student Shenae LaCroix, an exercise science major from Newcastle, Wyo., second from the right, was awarded the second School of Behavioral Sciences Make a Difference Initiative scholarship during a ceremony in the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center. Next to LaCroix from the left to right are Dr. Jim Hess, a professor in psychology and chair of the School of Behavioral Sciences at BHSU, who pledged $1 million to the Make a Difference fund, Dr. Dan Jensen and Craig Triplett, assistant professors of exercise science at BHSU. LaCroix was awarded $3,500 in scholarship funds and will receive a $2,500 to implement her new sustainable community project that will promote literacy in Spearfish.

Black Hills State University announced the award of the annual Make a Difference Initiative scholarship to student Shenae LaCroix recently, marking the continuation of the Initiative's commitment to students and the community.

The goal of LaCroix's project is to build book houses, in ten designated areas, that would give anyone a change to drop a book they no longer need, or pick up those they would like to read.

Dr. James Hess, professor of psychology and chair of the School of Behavioral Sciences at BHSU, pledged $1 million to BHSU to establish the School of Behavioral Sciences Make a Difference Initiative. In exchange for scholarship funds, students plan and execute a sustainable community project. The Initiative launched in 2014.

LaCroix was selected out of a highly competitive pool of applicants. She will be awarded $3,500 in scholarship funds and will receive a $2,500 to implement her new sustainable community project.

This is the second year LaCroix won the scholarship. Last year, LaCroix launched a mentoring program for college-aged students with special needs called YJ (Yellow Jacket) Friends. The program matched BHSU student volunteers, or mentors, with a non-college person with special needs.

This year, LaCroix's idea is a sharing, free exchange program to promote literacy in Spearfish.

Sandy Klarenbeek, health educator in the BHSU College of Education and chair of the Make a Difference Initiative Board of Directors, said community partnerships are key to the winning project.Klarenbeek noted that LaCroix has built partnerships with the Northern Hills Training Center (NHTC), Spearfish Grace Balloch Memorial Library, the elementary school, and the City of Spearfish, and especially with the parks and recreation department with her projects.

The Make a Difference Initiative will continue to award students with future scholarships. Those interested in making a donation to the initiative can contact BHSU University Advancement at 605-642-6385 or donate online at http://BHSU.edu/Alumni/GetInvolved/Donate.

For more information about Make a Difference Initiative, contact Klarenbeek at 605-642-6042 or Sandy.Klarenbeek@BHSU.edu.

During a ceremony at the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center, LaCroix, exercise science major from Newcastle, Wyo., was awarded the second BHSU Make a Difference Initiative Scholarship.
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