HPOG Success Story: Vanessa at Hostos Community College

Publication Date: June 18, 2020

Vanessa smiles in her uniformBronx, NY

Push through doubts to achieve your goals.

Since she was a little girl, Vanessa strived to be a successful woman. To her, success was measured in love for your job, positivity through failure, and finishing what is started. She knew her first step to finding a job she loved would be education. Vanessa decided to quit her job at a supermarket to return to school and earn her High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma.

Although it was an enormous risk, Vanessa felt leaving her job would be worth it and ultimately improve her and her children’s lives. As she took classes, there were many days where she doubted. It had been years since she had been in school. What if she failed the exam and it was all for nothing? Vanessa’s HSE instructor pushed her to fight through her doubts. She “…believed in me more than I did and made me be the better person I am now,” Vanessa shared. Despite the struggles of raising her children alone, with her teacher’s encouragement, Vanessa passed the HSE exam.

However, unemployment took its toll, and she began to struggle financially. Vanessa enrolled in the FED CAP assistance program, which connects graduates with training and meaningful employment. It was here Vanessa met Denise Pagan, Outreach Coordinator for the Hostos Allied Health Career Pipeline Program Visit disclaimer page funded by Health Profession Opportunity Grants (HPOG). Denise encouraged her to obtain a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certificate.

Vanessa credits her CNA instructor, Ms. Stewart, for teaching her to be passionate about healthcare. “Being in the helping field was always my dream but I did not know where to start. Ms. Stewart’s inspiration and dedication help me achieve my goal.” After completing her classes, Vanessa passed her licensing exam.

Vanessa’s case manager further motivated her to continue her education and work towards being a Registered Nurse (RN). Vanessa applied and was accepted into Hostos Community College. She started as a full-time student in the fall of 2019. The Hostos HPOG Pipeline Program career services team helped Vanessa build her resume and set interviews so she could find part-time work as a CNA to support her family while in school.

“I never thought I would make it this far in life, but with the support of the Hostos HPOG Pipeline Program, I am able to give my children the life they deserve and be a positive role model in their life… I am excited to attend college and continue to excel in my life. I can now say ’if mommy can do it, you can too.”

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

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