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The Set Me Free Project ® is thrilled to announce Sydney Olsen as the 2024 recipient of the Sydney Loofe Scholarship. The Sydney Loofe Scholarship honors the life of Sydney Loofe. We'd like to give special thanks to the Loofe family for allowing us to honor Sydney in this way.

In Sydney’s essay about how Sydney Loofe’s story impacted her, Sydney says, “Sydney's story has stuck with me for years, because of the type of person she was. Sydney was a very kind, curious, and hard working person and her story has inspired me to be someone just like her.” As the scholarship recipient, Sydney will receive $4,000 toward her college education. Congratulations, Sydney!

Are you or someone you know interested in applying next year? You can visit our site for scholarship eligibility requirements.

Scholarship Opportunity

​We are privileged to offer this scholarship to honor the life of Sydney Loofe. We want to thank the Loofe family for allowing us to honor Sydney in this way.













Special thank you to her parents: George and Susie Loofe for sharing her story, and to family friend, Tammy Schindler, for helping to make this story come to life.

​Sydney with a 'Y.' Spelling her name that way isn't all that made her unique. Caribbean blue eyes that glistened, white-blond hair, and a sweet smile that turned up a little in one corner (accented by a dimple)—those traits, from the time she was a toddler until she was 24 years old—always lit up a room. 

From early on, she could have been dubbed Sydney with a "Why," as she was an incredibly inquisitive child. For instance, one winter when she was three, she wondered whether her tongue would stick to the frost-covered pump in the backyard. It did. At age four, she asked what would happen if she called 9-1-1. Thankfully, her mom intercepted the return call before any emergency personnel was sent out.

She wasn't too ornery of a child, just a curious one, often exploring and playing outdoors for hours (most often with her siblings, Levi and MacKenzie). On one occasion, she saved her sister, choking on an Atomic Fireball, by performing the Heimlich maneuver. She loved her siblings deeply, so coming to their rescue was a natural response. It was part of her nature. Even in her adult life, rescuing others seemed to be a recurrent theme, as she opened her home to several acquaintances who were homeless, down on their luck, or just needed a helping hand. She hated to see people suffer.


​Sydney, with a "y," never stopped to ask "why" when it came to helping others. Although she often struggled physically, financially, and emotionally, she opened her home and heart to others. And those who knew Sydney knew of her love of family, her affinity for animals and pets (especially cats), her interest in fishing as a pastime, her fascination with beautiful crystals, and her soft heart.

After high school, Sydney was a little unsure of the direction she wanted to pursue for her future, but she had dreams. Once, that included becoming a marine biologist. But college proved to be a somewhat difficult path for her right out of high school, so she settled for trips to the zoo to satisfy her love of exotic animals. In the meantime, she found a career, and a circle of friends, at Menard's in Lincoln.

When she didn't show up to work one day, her co-workers became worried and reported her absence. Her family feared the worst but clung to hope that no one would harm their beautiful, trusting, kind daughter. Tragically, that wasn't true. Sadly, Sydney, the crystal-blue-eyed girl with a soft heart, who was just 24 years old, was taken from this earth on November 16, 2017.
In her short time here, she touched lives in Arcadia (where Sydney and her family lived until she was seven; in Neligh, where she graduated from high school in 2011; and in Lincoln, where she worked; as well as numerous acquaintances she made along the way.
Sydney Loofe was a unique child of God, one who proudly had this tattooed on her arm, "Everything will be wonderful someday." Her family holds tight to the faith that indeed in heaven, that is true.

Sydney Loofe Scholarship READY To Stand Curriculum The Set Me Free Project
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