Jillisa Suppah first heard about the IDA program in 2013. She was interested in going back to school and wasn’t sure how she was going to pay her tuition. After saving for almost a year, she was able to enroll at Chemeketa Community College. In December 2015, she graduated with an Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Degree. She then transferred to Portland State University, where she completed her Bachelors of Science in Social Work in June 2019. Jillisa wants to continue to save and plans to go back to school to receive a Master’s Degree in a couple of years.
After graduating from college, Jillisa moved back to Warm Springs. She now works with Health and Human Services on the Papalaxsimisha program, where she teaches college readiness and prevention to youth locally. Jillisa goes to the K-8 and Madras High School every week to help the Native American Student Union Club, encouraging youth to stay in school and getting them ready for college. She also got promoted to the community health education team and helps more broadly with health prevention on the reservation. “I would like to encourage others to utilize the IDA for education. It really helped me get through school and I think it is a great asset to our community.”
After closing her education IDA, Jillisa opened a second IDA account in 2017. This time, she was interested in purchasing a vehicle. While still in school, Jillisa began to save, purchasing a Toyota 4Runner in September 2019. The vehicle helps her get to work and continue her cultural practices. “I am a traditional food gatherer. I wanted an SUV because it helps me get out to gathering areas for roots and berries.”