Bismarck Woman Helps Native American Children - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bismarck Woman Helps Native American Children

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Alaskan Native and American Indian students make up less than two percent of those enrolled in the North Dakota University System. A Bismarck woman is hoping to help change that.

Many people dread a long commute to work, but one Bismarck woman makes a three hour trek once a week to volunteer. Danielle Finn is helping kids on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.

"I came down to Head Start to work with this great program that Carmelita has and to give back to my community and to, basically, help the next generation of kids," says Finn.

And now, she is being recognized for her efforts. Finn was selected to be a Champion for Change. The Head Start director nominated her for the program.

"Just the overall person she is makes her a really good candidate and also a very good role model for the people here on Standing Rock," says Head Start director Carmelita Bear Ribs.

The Center for Native American Youth honored Finn for her efforts in Washington, D.C.

"I got to meet with Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid. That was a really exciting experience, because he is such a big guy in Congress. And then, I got to meet with Heidi Heitkamp, Senator Hoeven, a lot of other representatives and delegates from their state. And along with that, I got to speak in front of hundreds of tribal leaders at the NCAI conference," says Finn.

"All of other champions are really accomplished. I didn't feel deserving. But I am very honored and humbled by the appreciation they're giving me," she says.

Finn says education is the key to success. And she wants to make sure every child has the chance to succeed. And as a Champion for Change, her voice will be heard.

"Once you get accepted as a Champion for Change, you are put on the Center for Native American Youth's advisory board for two-years. And you get to travel around the state and the country and talk about issues that are important to you. Basically give testimony as to what Native American children face on a daily basis," says Finn.

Carmelita says she nominated Finn because she is an excellent role model for children and has big goals. And as you can see, the children love her.

Danielle is an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Tribe. She says she plans to become an attorney and help create better educational opportunities on the reservation.

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