The DeGroot-Akins Nursing Scholarship Gala will be held on January 26th at the brand new Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel.  This is the 10th year for the event where the Rotary Club of Rio Rancho Sunrise has awarded nearly $100,000 in scholarships to nursing students with connections to Rio Rancho.
In 2009 A fairly new Rotary Club—dedicated to the motto of “Service Above Self” and focusing on youth and the community—was searching for a unique niche.
 
Given the 2 new hospitals being built in Rio Rancho, a well-publicized national nursing shortage and several members who were health care providers and administrators, the Club decided to raise money and award scholarships to nursing students who were from Rio Rancho, had financial need, were in good academic standing, and showed involvement in community service. The club wanted to mirror Rotary’s high standards and assist in preparing and retaining excellent Registered Nurses to care for Rio Rancho’s citizens.
 
A gala dinner was planned. Corporate and individual sponsors were sought from the business and health care communities. Silent auction items were solicited from club members and the community. Financial aid officers from accredited local nursing schools distributed scholarship notices and criteria to their students—these were also published on the Club’s webpage. A committee comprised of club and community members evaluated candidates and prizes were awarded at the dinner.
 
To date we have awarded nearly $100,000 to 40 students. Two of our awardees, who have gone on to attain higher educational levels and enhance their abilities to provide health care, assist us to evaluate yearly applicants. One has repaid the scholarship monies she received—which were reinvested in the scholarship process.
 
Awardees have returned to the Club, expressed gratitude and explained their employment and further educational plans. In January 2018 the scholarships totaled $15,000. Plans are to increase the number of students and amount of funds awarded every year. In addition, the Club’s Foundation has been able to expand and help other projects which benefit given matching funds from Rotary International.
 
Rust Presbyterian is expanding, Sandoval Regional Medical Center and Lovelace Westside continue to offer new care lines, the nursing shortage will exist in varying forms (need for more nurses, need for higher educational levels, aging demographics), and Rio Rancho Rotary Sunrise will continue to focus on improving healthcare in New Mexico. Your assistance with a sponsorship, a generous donation or a significant silent auction item will help us expand our scholarship program and contribute to our communities with “Service Above Self.”
 
Further information about donation options, as well as application forms for the scholarship and online registration for the gala on January 26, 2019, may be found on our website - see the links on our main page.