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HPOG Success Story: Sophia at Zepf Center

Published: June 21, 2019
Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG)
Technical Assistance

Sophia smilingSophia’s story is familiar yet still isolating.

Financial struggles forced her into a vicious cycle of living paycheck to paycheck with a bleak future. She described her situation as slipping into survival mode.

“I wasn’t living. I was in survival mode. I was focused on working a low-paying job to just barely make rent each month and then doing it all over again the next month. It’s a very hard cycle to break, it’s like running in place as fast as you can but going nowhere. In the end, I was just tired and worn out, but I kept doing it every day because I had no choice.”

After learning about the Zepf Center’s HPOG program, Northwest Ohio Pathway to Healthcare Careers (NOPHC), from OhioMeansJobs Lucas County Center, Sophia realized she did have choices. Selflessly, she initially called looking for employment information for a family member, but instead, her own life took a turn. By March 2016, she had completed an HPOG Interest Survey and was randomly assigned into the Treatment group, which she was not expecting. She celebrated with a “happy dance” once she was given a small glimpse of what her future could hold.

Her HPOG Education Success Coach was by her side when she needed support after falling ill and missing two classes while working toward her State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) certificate. Everyone involved in the program rallied behind her, making sure that she could make up the missed class time. She went on to complete her program and pass the STNA certification exam on her first try.

“The support that HPOG offers goes beyond financial, it’s a lifeline to become so much more as a person. The care, encouragement, resources and best of all compassion are driving forces that foster immeasurable growth. The most incredible part of the program is that I get to give back, that now I’m able to train as an RN and the support that has been given to me will be poured right back into my community. I now have something to give and make a difference.”

Sophia is currently an honors student finishing her fifth term in a Registered Nursing program at a local community college and is carrying a 3.81/4.00 GPA. She is on track to graduate in December of 2019.


Last Reviewed: June 21, 2019