April 9, 2020

Selflessness is the Key to Success

The 2019 President’s College Scholarship winner is someone who is always determined to put others first.

2019’s President’s College Scholarship winner, Braden Gilbertson, has been volunteering for as long as he can remember. Although his family recently relocated to Minnesota, he grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. Braden’s parents often took him to local NMB events, which helped foster his love of volunteering. When asked why volunteering is so important to him, he shared, “volunteering helps strengthen communities and bring individuals together,” something that he continues to prove through his efforts.

A Memorable Connection

Braden’s most memorable volunteer experience began when he was a sophomore in high school. After his grandfather passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, he knew he wanted to help improve the lives of others who were struggling as they aged. Eager to build a relationship, Braden contacted a local nursing home in Bismarck and offered to volunteer. He was introduced to a man named Ed who had struggled with his move to Baptist Health Care Center and wasn’t getting involved in activities.

For the next two and a half years, Braden played games with Ed and kept him company every Sunday night. He began to realize the significant difference his visits made in Ed’s life, which led him to continue visiting. Stacy Miller of the Resource Development & Marketing Department at Baptist Health Care Center shared, “In my five years of working with the volunteer program, I have never had a young person continue to come after their commitment has ended.” Braden’s devotion to helping Ed is a true testament to his character.

A Youthful Volunteer

Braden volunteered in other ways throughout the community of Bismarck. On several occasions, he joined forces with Youthworks, a non-profit organization focused on helping homeless, runaway, and struggling youth. Volunteers regularly gathered at one of the local high schools for a day of sorting through donated clothing. Braden was also a leader in his local church’s bible camp and spent countless hours volunteering at the public library. 

Braden has been actively volunteering while studying at the University of Kansas. As a freshman last year, he was happy to take part in a campus-wide day of service known as ‘The Big Event’. Thousands of students, faculty, and staff volunteered at hundreds of local job sites as a thank you to their community, making the ninth annual event a huge success!

A Future of Helping Others

When Braden isn’t volunteering, he focuses on school. He’s currently a sophomore at the University of Kansas, majoring in Exercise Science. After completing his undergraduate degree, Braden would like to attend physical therapy school.

Braden is excited to make a difference in other people’s lives by helping with mobility, pain reduction, and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. As Melinda Thorton, a guidance counselor at Legacy High School in Bismarck stated, “Braden is an intelligent, personable and hardworking young man.” Given the many wonderful stories we’ve heard, we couldn’t agree more! Congratulations, Braden, on being named the 2019 President’s College Scholarship winner. We wish you the best as you continue to follow your dreams!

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