Kali Hale Dreams of Using College Education to Help Cheyenne River Youth
“I always knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t grow up with money,” says Kali Hale who is completing her first year at Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota, using a combination of scholarships and savings funds. Four Bands is proud to be part of the “how” that got her there.
As a participant in our Youth Entrepreneur Internship Program, Kali was able to take advantage of a paid internship, a matched savings program, and various educational workshops. During the summer of her junior year in high school, Kali gained work experience and life lessons through her internship where she worked 100 hours at the Cheyenne River Youth Project, a youth center located on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. She received a wage of $10.00 per hour, and deposited half of her earnings into an Individual Development Account, a special matched savings account. Kali’s deposits were matched dollar for dollar by Four Bands, resulting in $1,000 that she could use for her college education.
“I always knew I wanted to go to college, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t grow up with money.”
After completing her internship, Kali continued to build her college fund throughout her senior year by participating in another matched savings program that Four Bands offered. She saved a total of $1,200 and received a 3-to-1 match for a total of $4,800. In addition, she was awarded the Four Bands Wavemaker Scholarship that added $500 to her savings. In all, Kali was able to save $6,300 for her college education by participating in our programs.
Her internship experience also helped shape her plans for her future. She says, “Working at the youth center, I saw what Native kids go through. They don’t really grow up in stable homes, and kids get mistreated. I realized my Native community really needs help, and there are resources but people just don’t know how to use them.” Kali plans to graduate Presentation College in 2018 with a double major in Psychology and Social Work, and use her degree to fulfill her dream of going back to the reservation to help kids.
Kali says she received more than just funding from Four Bands. The staff always encouraged her to take advantage of other programs and provided her with guidance towards additional opportunities. She completed several workshops where she learned about managing her money, saving to achieve goals, and the responsible use of credit. Those are lessons she will continue to use on into adulthood and that will guide her towards success.
Kali encourages her peers and younger generations to reach for their dreams, “I saw that there was more than just the reservation. There are other opportunities, and I wanted to make it. You just have to work hard and you will get to it.” Now, she is working hard to bring opportunity back to the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation.