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
“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
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.”