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HPOG Success Story: Kayla at Workforce Development Board SDA-83, Inc.

Published: January 21, 2020
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Kayla smilesMonroe, LA

A helping hand and a higher power lead a mother to a new purpose.

Kayla moved to Kilbourne, Louisiana at the age of 17. She came from a family that struggled with addiction, early motherhood, and heartache. She left high school when she was five months pregnant.

Kayla received her GED shortly after the birth of her first child, but was unsure what to do next. During childhood, she struggled with ADHD, bullying and an unstable home life. Kayla's educational experience was negative. Teachers were not supportive and told her she would never amount to anything.

Kayla met her husband in 2007, and they had four more daughters. Together, they found God and raised their five children. Kayla's husband worked long hours to provide for them. They lived paycheck to paycheck, and their daughters often went without. Kayla believed a higher power had big plans for her but wasn't quite sure what they were.

Eventually Kayla heard her calling at church to become a nurse. She worried about the commitment and time away from her children it would take. She deliberated, but knew it was the right choice. She applied to nursing school and was accepted. Now she needed to find a way to pay for school.

In 2016, Kayla started her first semester of nursing school at Louisiana Delta Community College-Lake Providence. Kayla, with the help of her mom and stepdad, got a loan to pay tuition expenses. She and her husband worried if they could afford for her to become a nurse. During the fall semester of 2016, Kayla learned of the Professional Healthcare Opportunities—Careers And Support (PHOCAS) Project through Jessica Stevens, PHOCAS LDCC Coordinator.

At first, Kayla thought of PHOCAS as only financial help. She soon realized PHOCAS was much more. The PHOCAS LDCC Coordinators and Student Liaisons work hand in hand to serve the PHOCAS participant. Jessica was a constant support on campus. She checked grades, offered encouragement, and even a little tough love on occasion. Kayla says, "Jessica was there to kick our butts in gear when needed." Jessica connected Kayla with Alexis Foy, PHOCAS Student Liaison. Alexis helped Kayla with books, transportation, and childcare.

Kayla graduated as an LPN in December of 2017. After passing her Louisiana State Board of Nursing Exam, Kayla became employed as an LPN at the Delhi Hospital Emergency Room in January of 2018.  She and her family are no longer struggling paycheck to paycheck. Kayla and her husband were able to buy their first home. Most importantly to Kayla, she is able to show her daughters a better life than she had at their age.

"I can never say thanks enough to PHOCAS and everyone who had a part in helping me become a nurse and be the best mom for my girls that I can be. For that, I am forever grateful."

This success story was self-identified by the grantee and information contained in this document was provided by the grantee.

Last Reviewed: January 21, 2020