Student scholarship recipient finds second home at Sanford

Tyffani Hanson drives nearly an hour every week to volunteer at children’s hospital

A college student volunteer smiles over the shoulder of a one-year-old hospital patient while playing ball.

There are one million places Tyffani Hanson could be.

But there’s one place she often finds herself wanting to be.

Committing to volunteer care

Hanson, a sophomore at South Dakota State University, is studying pre-med human biology, and minoring in chemistry.

College is a busy time for her. Yet once a week, Hanson doesn’t hesitate to whiz south from Brookings to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to volunteer at Sanford Children’s Hospital.

As of late, Hanson said she mainly visits and hangs out with children who are in the hospital. The day we got to talk with her, she was helping Isaac, a hospitalized 1-year-old, play basketball.

Explore financial aid: Scholarships from Sanford Health

The once-a-week volunteering cadence, despite the busyness of a college student schedule, is the kind of commitment that means the world to Sanford Health manager of volunteer services Becca Conner.

“She has worked very hard in both her schooling and volunteer role. She just has so much potential, and we’re excited for her,” she said.

Being helped, after helping

So excited, they named her one of the 11 student volunteer scholarship recipients.

“We give five $2,000 scholarships and six $1,000. The funds for 10 of those scholarships actually come from our gift shop here at Sanford Medical Center,” Conner explained.

She said there are certain criteria applicants must meet in order to be rewarded the scholarship.

The first is they must be interested in health care as a career.

“My dream job is actually to be a pediatrician,” said Hanson.

Check one for Hanson.

The second is they must have volunteered at Sanford Health.

“They make it worth it to volunteer once a week,” Hanson said.

And, double check.

“I was so excited (when I was told I was a recipient). I mean, not to put myself down, but I thought, ‘I’ve only been here a year. I’m still young in my schooling, my education.’ When they told me that I was so in shock.

“It just made me feel really great that Sanford saw that in me,” Hanson said.

Thinking ahead

Conner said this is one of the many ways Sanford is investing in the future of health care.

“These volunteers may be our future health care workers. Hopefully they can come back and work for us someday,” she added.

And it’s safe to say Sanford Health is on Hanson’s radar.

“I love my Sanford community and I’m so thankful for everything that they’ve done for me. I love everyone here, and I think it’s a great place whether you’re working, or a patient, or anything it could be. I just love it here. I’m so thankful for everything and blessed for Sanford.”

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Posted In Children's, Community, Scholarships and Sponsorships