2015 SDF Scholarship Dinner

August 27, 2015

Chairman Snyder’s Remarks

SDF_Scholarships2015_img7Welcome to the 8th Annual Seneca Diabetes Foundation Scholarship Awards Dinner.

I want to thank each one of you for celebrating this evening with us and for supporting our continued efforts to improve the lives of Seneca people affected by diabetes.

Tonight, we will honor nine very deserving and academically accomplished Seneca students who are pursuing their education in the areas of medicine or other health-related services by awarding $45,000 in scholarships. To date, Seneca Diabetes has awarded a total of $435,000 in scholarships. We do this because we need to have more educated Senecas in the health field serving our people. We do this because our Nation needs to keep the talent on our Territories.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img6We are proud of our students’ hard work and dedication and would like to thank their parents and families for committing their lives to providing strong support and for being the models helping our students take positive steps to better their own future and that of the next seven generations of our people.

Since its establishment in 2005, the Foundation has been guided by its mission to provide education outreach and prevention awareness and to fund research to help make a positive difference in the lives of all Senecas and everyone affected by diabetes.

I am very proud to report that all monies raised through our fundraising efforts are awarded directly back to benefit Seneca Nation health, wellness and education programs.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img5Each year, the Foundation is working to further our mission with community partners like Independent Health, the American Diabetes Foundation, Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Kaleida Health, D’Youville College and others to help sustain a healthy Nation.

To date, more than $3 million have been committed to prevention, wellness and treatment programs to help in our fight against diabetes. This includes the work that the Food Is Our Medicine Project is doing in partnership with the Seneca Nation to educate our people in growing healthy food, eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This project has been recognized by the National Indian Health Board and USET (United South and Eastern Tribes) as a “Best Practice Model.” As a result of this designation, the innovative practices introduced by Food Is Our Medicine are being shared with other Native Nations suffering from diabetes and childhood obesity.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img4I want to recognize the dedication of Ken Parker, Manager of Food Is Our Medicine, and Board members Holly John and Lucille White, for continuing this work that is so important to the well-being of our Seneca communities.

I am pleased to see the community gardens at the CCC. And more Senecas are growing healthy throughout the community. We’ve made significant strides since 2005, but we also recognize that there is much more work still to do.

Tonight is about education. We are positive that our Seneca students have the skills necessary to compete in what is now a global economy, and we must continue to provide them with educational opportunities and resources to succeed.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img3For our Nation to continue to grow and establish its economic sovereignty, our young people must have access to good schools and courses that prepare them for college, a career, and a better life.

Tonight, I am joined by my fellow Board members—Vice Chairman Michael Militello, Secretary & Treasurer Lucille White, Deanna Snyder, Holly John, Marlene Wakefield, Kevin Seneca, Phil Pantano and Dr. John Fudyma. I’d like to personally thank them for their continued commitment to our cause.

I’d also like to thank our Attorney, Jack Wysocki, for his assistance with the Foundation’s legal matters.

As I mentioned earlier, tonight we will honor nine outstanding Seneca undergraduate and graduate students who are actively enrolled full-time in an accredited college or university.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img2This year, we are pleased that the Seneca Gaming Corporation is sponsoring SDF scholarships that honor two outstanding Seneca students. Thank you for your continued support.

Academic achievement and financial need are considered when giving awards. The Barry and Deanna Snyder, Sr. Chairman’s Scholarship Award is a two-year scholarship that is awarded to students who maintain a minimum of a 3.0 Grade Point Average. This year, we have five students who have met these qualifications.

We are pleased to assist these students. We are proud of their accomplishments and look forward to hearing about their future successes.

SDF_Scholarships2015_img1Before we all head to the buffet, I would like to begin our dinner with a prayer that I always keep on my desk, reminding me daily why we are chosen to do what we do. I read it every day, and every year at this time, as I feel it is worth repeating.

This is the beginning of a new day,

The creator has given me this day to use as I will,

I can waste it – or use it for good, but what I do today is important

Because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.