Nine Mothers Graduate from Certified Nursing Assistant Program at Alta Vista Elementary, Funded by Community Foundation of Sarasota County
On Friday, July 31st, 2015, nine mothers celebrated graduation from the American Red Cross Certified Nursing Assistant training program in a ceremony together with their children at Alta Vista Elementary School.
Graduates include: Amanda Bailey, Toni Bell, Sadequah Caldwell, Christine Francis, Debbie Lewis, Brittany McClain, Christell Redden, Lorca Rivera, and Brandi Thibodeau.
For seven weeks, graduates spent four and a half days each week attending the program hosted at Alta Vista Elementary and supported by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. During that time, many graduates balanced the duties of taking care of their families with multiple jobs, finishing homework and studying for exams in order to successfully complete their classes.
During the graduation, children joined their mothers on stage one at a time to present them with a rose, as their nursing instructors read hand-written notes celebrating their accomplishments. The majority of the graduates are single-mothers and are the primary caregiver and financial provider for their families.
Started in March of 2013, this partnership is aimed at lifting low-income families out of poverty by providing mothers with students at Alta Vista Elementary an opportunity to earn a CNA certification, as well as offer courses on resume building, interviewing tips, and professional etiquette.
The Alta Vista CNA program is part of a larger, two-generation effort between Alta Vista Elementary and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, focusing on creating opportunities for vulnerable parents and their children together, and the Campaign For Grade-Level Reading, which strives to have all students reading on grade-level by 3rd grade.
“The ceremony was a celebration of hope and opportunity, knowing these graduates will contribute to a bright and proud future for themselves, their family, and our community,” says Roxie Jerde, keynote speaker and President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “It’s inspiring to witness the example these mothers are setting for their kids. For their children to see them studying, preparing for exams, heading off for their practicums and supporting their classmates validates the value of education and hard work. The program is a living demonstration of the incredible things that can happen when motivated and determined people seize the opportunity to better their lives.”