Plymouth Harbor prides itself in offering a safe and supportive environment for its employees that aids them in reaching their dreams and goals. Through its annual scholarship programs, Plymouth Harbor has helped many employees go back to school and continue their education.

Tara Mitchell came to Plymouth Harbor in 2006 as a CNA and is now the Smith Care Center’s Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON). “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this happening, but the scholarships helped with a lot,” Tara said.

Tara earned her LPN in 2010 from Manatee Technical, went back to school in 2013 to fulfill her pre-requisite courses for her RN degree, and earned her RN license in January 2018. Even as a full-time student, Tara continued to work at Plymouth Harbor as a flex nurse. She received her first scholarship in 2013, and then received the Doyle scholarship in 2015. “It paid for my nursing and bachelors degrees, and also helped me support my three children,” Tara said.

Tara grew up wanting to be a cosmetologist, but when she became pregnant for the first time she realized nursing was her true calling. “My nurse, Barbara, was the most awesome nurse ever,” Tara said. It was after this interaction that Tara decided to become a nurse, and she hopes to one day work with mothers and babies.

Now that she is the ADON, Tara’s responsibilities are more administrative, but that doesn’t stop her from making sure she spends time bedside helping residents. “Whenever I have time, I ask our nurses if there is anything I can help them with,” Tara said. “I choose to still be hands-on and keep up my skills. I’m just that way.” She also makes sure she keeps her bedside skills sharp by working at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Claudia Cavero is also a nurse in our Smith Care Center. For the past 16 months, Claudia has been enrolled at Rasmussen College in Tampa pursuing her RN degree. She received the Gaylord Scholarship in 2018 and used it to help pay for her tuition and books. This scholarship is specifically for those pursuing a career in the nursing field.

During her RN program, Claudia was commuting to Tampa three to four days a week for classes and clinicals, all while working full time and raising her 13-year-old son. “Plymouth Harbor was so flexible with my schedule,” Claudia said. “I worked as a private duty and night shift nurse, which allowed me to come to work and take care of my residents while also going to school.” During her down time while on night shift, Claudia would study and do her homework.

Claudia completed her courses in April 2019, took and passed the NCLEX (nursing boards) in May, and is proud to say she is officially a Registered Nurse. She is “so grateful to Plymouth Harbor” and the Gaylord Scholarship for helping her achieve this goal and is “planning to grow here and see how far I can go.”

Both Tara and Claudia are examples of how far people can go with just a little extra support, and they both echoed the same sentiment: a great big thank you. To those who have donated to the Foundation Scholarships program or plan to, your kindness and generosity is forever appreciated.