UNO student who helps others is rewarded with some herself
Posted: Wed, Sep 26, 2012
Tiffany Jones is a senior at UNO.
She's a dreamer, too.
"I dream of having a career that will allow me to give back to my community," she says. "Throughout my coursework and experience at UNO, I've developed an even greater passion for volunteering and helping others."
Since coming to UNO from Doniphan, Neb., she's volunteered at the Hope Center for Kids in north Omaha for a year, doing whatever the staff needed her to do. One of her favorite things was teaching Bible study to a group of little girls there.
She joined UNO's Habitat for Humanity chapter. She also took a work-study job that let her work with schoolkids.
Tiffany, a speech communication major, isn't sure what her career will be. Maybe she'll end up working for a nonprofit. But in her dreams of her dream job, she's helping others to succeed.
She's thankful to the Omaha Chapter of the Scottish Rite for helping her succeed.
Each year, they give her a $2,000 scholarship.
"This scholarship means more to me than words can describe," she says. "I was taught at a young age that money would be important when it came to receiving a college education. But my parents didn't exactly warn me how much money I would need to chase my dreams.
"I've learned that dreams are attainable, but they aren't easy. This scholarship has helped give my dreams wings, and I will forever be thankful for that."
Each year for the past 20 years, the Scottish Rite Foundation of Omaha has given scholarships to UNO students like Tiffany.
So far, it has helped close to 300 UNO students with merit- and need-based scholarships. It gives UNO $10,000 a year to support a professorship. It also supports UNMC's Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation through the statewide Scottish Rite Foundation. (The Scottish Rite Foundation of Omaha is supported primarily by members of the Scottish Rite Valley of Omaha, a fraternal organization.)
A main goal of the Scottish Rite is to help make people's lives better, says Curtis Edic, executive director of the Scottish Rite Valley of Omaha. And one way is by supporting education.
"We're so proud of our scholarship recipients," he says. "We're always proud of where they're headed and how they get along. Our reports after they graduate have been excellent. There have been some very good success stories. "It's always exciting."
Each year, the Scottish Rite members get to meet their scholarship recipients at a dinner at the Scottish Rite building, at the corner of 20th and Douglas streets in Omaha. (This year marks the 100th anniversary of the building's groundbreaking.)
At one of those dinners a few years back, a student told the members that the money they gave her was the difference between her staying at UNO or dropping out.
"That was a tear-jerker moment for everybody," he says. "Both of her parents had gotten laid off from work, and she said that they had just enough with the scholarship money to get them over the hump so she could stay in school."
At last year's dinner, Tiffany was able to thank the group in a speech.
"Because of all of you, I am allowed to focus more on my education than on the money aspect of things," she told them. I've also been allowed to take part in different volunteer opportunities that have been able to help me grow mentally and emotionally. Because of your assistance, I've been given opportunities to learn in and out of the classroom. "As far as what I'm going to do with my major, I'm not so certain. But I know in my heart that God has amazing plans for my future. And it's people like you, who believe in me, who will help give me the strength to achieve anything that I set my mind to.
Student support is a top priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you also would like to help UNO students like Tiffany – young people who want to make the community better someday – please consider giving online or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.