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Lakeland Health Foundation, Niles, Awards Scholarships (old)
When Karla Taylor first started working as a secretary in the Emergency Department at Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles, 17 years ago, she couldn’t have predicted all the support she would receive in reaching her career goals.

Thanks to past scholarships from the Lakeland Health Foundation, Niles, and the encouragement of her co-workers, Karla achieved her dream of becoming a registered nurse and is now working in the hospital’s A-2 surgical unit. As one of two recipients of the 2009 Brian Parker Memorial Scholarship from the Lakeland Health Foundation, Niles, Karla plans to use her most recent gift to complete the Master of Science in Nursing degree at Bethel College and eventually teach nursing at the college level.

“I’m grateful that Lakeland takes the time to provide these scholarships so that we can be on the cutting-edge in knowledge and education,” said Karla at the recent annual scholarship reception for the Lakeland Health Foundation, Niles. “It means a lot to me, because I want to give back to my community.”

Through the Allied Health Careers Scholarship program, the Lakeland Health Foundation provided more than $10,500 in grants and scholarships this year to departments and individuals, including Karla. Each scholarship is designed to advance educational opportunities for Lakeland HealthCare professionals and for students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare.

“The grants and scholarships provided by area residents and organizations represent a $10,500 investment toward advancing healthcare in our region, and we thank you for making a difference,” said Bill Johnson, Director of Development for Lakeland HealthCare and President of the Lakeland Health Foundations. “These gifts are used to enhance the skills and knowledge so critical to providing ongoing quality healthcare in our community.”

For Michele Farrow, a unit clerk in the hospital’s Radiology Department and the second recipient of the 2009 Brian Parker Memorial Scholarship, the gift made it possible to overcome one final hurdle in becoming a college graduate. A single mother, Michele was faced with financial challenges that prevented her from receiving her diploma. However, after receiving the gift from the Foundation, Michele officially earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Siena Heights University. “Without Lakeland, my dream to accomplish this goal wouldn’t have come true,” said Michele. “It’s an ending to something I worked hard to do, not just for myself, but for Lakeland and the community.”

Over the past 14 years, the Niles Health Foundation has awarded nearly $210,000 in scholarships and grants to individuals and departments. This year, a total of eleven Lakeland associates and seven Lakeland departments at Lakeland Community Hospital, Niles, received scholarships and educational awards.

In addition, the Foundation presented a gift from the College Education Scholarship Fund for Children of Associates to Caitlin Courtney, daughter of Patient Accounts Specialist Renee Courtney. A recent graduate of Dowagiac Union High School, Caitlin plans to attend Glen Oaks Community College in Centreville, then continue her studies to become a pharmacist. “To our scholarship and grant recipients today, I ask that you continue advancing and keep pushing ahead,” said Joseph Wasserman, President and CEO, Lakeland HealthCare. “Recognize the investment that has been made in you, and take full advantage of it.”

Individual scholarship recipients and their hometowns are:

Dowagiac: Caitlin Courtney, Joseph Fecho

Edwardsburg: Nancy Fantetti

Marcellus: Wendy Steinkraus

Niles: Heather Archer, Barbara Burge, Delaina Croom, Michele Farrow, Cathy Smith

South Bend: Karla Taylor

Vandalia: Debra Green

White Pigeon: Todd Haney

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