Student Prospers at SCC with POP Scholarship

It sounds cliché, but Tara Farley believes she is in charge of her own destiny. Growing up in Winner, South Dakota, as a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, she knew in the eighth grade she liked taking care of people. She just didn’t know her career path.

“I come from a small town, and in order to get out of there and be successful, I wanted a job that is going to be around, where I am needed and pays well,” explained Farley. “At the time, I wanted to be a cook, but that’s a very cutthroat field. Then I figured out I could be a nurse and have a job anywhere. It’s a versatile career.”

Fast forward to March 2020 when Farley moved to Lincoln with her boyfriend and their children. They were homeless when they arrived, but she quickly found resources for housing, food and more. One of the places which helped her was the Center for People in Need. The Center provides services and programs to low-income people that address their basic needs and help them achieve economic independence.

“I have associated with the Center for People in Need for a long time,” she said. “I go to their food bank every week, and I got diapers for my kids from them. I utilize all their resources.”

Farley worked at Bulu, a subscription box service, when she moved to Lincoln, but she knew she had a passion to help others. She had attended nursing school in South Dakota and researched her options in Lincoln. Accepted to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Farley ultimately enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at Southeast Community College for a variety of reasons.

“Knowing I couldn’t graduate from UNL with a nursing degree, it defeated the purpose of going to that school,” Farley said. “Why pay large amounts of money to transfer somewhere else? SCC is definitely a more affordable option. Because I want to transfer to the Associate Degree Nursing program, there is no other school in Lincoln with this option. It definitely takes a lot of things falling into the right place.”

Another positive that’s happened to Farley is scholarships. A resourceful person by nature, she started looking for ways to pay for college once she enrolled at SCC. Farley was awarded a Cobell Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship for Native Americans, as well as the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Educational Scholarship. In addition, she also received the Center for People in Need’s People Obtaining Prosperity scholarship.

“I use my resources,” she said. “If it’s there, I see no reason why I shouldn’t utilize it. The POP scholarship greatly impacts my ability to go to school. They also help you with a gas voucher so you can get to class. It really does help.”

The Center for People in Need has awarded 1,213 POP scholarships to SCC students during the last nine years. The scholarship pays for 30 credit hours at SCC, and the Center assists with basic needs to remove barriers that might prevent low-income individuals from attending college. There are currently 116 POP scholars attending SCC. The top program areas for POP scholars are health care, academic transfer and business.

“This scholarship provides an opportunity to obtain free tuition for an associate degree and get wraparound services to remove barriers to education,” said Krista Raastad, POP program coordinator. “We are thankful for this partnership with SCC.”

Farley graduates from SCC in December with her Diploma in Practical Nursing, and she plans to continue in the ADN program. After graduation, she would like to give back to her community by working at the federal level in the Indian Health Service or locally at the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Lincoln Health and Wellness Center.

“I want to be an inspiration for Native Americans,” she said. “I want to show people you can break the cycle if you want to. People are under-educated and uninformed. The more somebody can tell them about resources and how to use them, the better their life will be. If I can do it, anyone can do it.” 


Jennifer Snyder
Social Media Specialist