Alexia Realizes Her Brighter Future

Alexia has always dreamed of being a nurse.

Taking advantage of her own resourcefulness and the services offered by United Way Suncoast, she’s closer than she’s ever been to realizing her dream.

The United Way Suncoast Resource Center at Sulphur Springs offers a 7-week Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program which is offered at no cost to the students.  It is provided through a joint initiative between CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a workforce development non-profit, Hillsborough Community College and United Way Suncoast as part of their shared mission to assist families in becoming financially stable and self sufficient.

Prior to joining the CNA program, Alexia was supporting her son and daughter as a shift manager at Dunkin Donuts. Wanting a more stable future for herself and her children, she took the first steps towards realizing her dream of becoming a nurse by signing up for United Way Suncoast Resource Center at Sulphur Springs’ CNA classes.

She was appreciative of how everyone, from the instructors to her fellow students, created a welcoming environment. “The staff made the process so easy and they were so kind and courteous. We are inner-city, we are in an at-risk area. They helped make the culture better, made us feel connected and a part of something,” she explained. “Some people who might not know better get the mentality of, ‘They’re in the hood. They’re just here because they’re lazy and don’t want to do anything.’ But we’re there to better our lives.”

As part of the CNA program, the Resource Center staff helped the students get their immunization shots and vaccines, hearing tests, physicals and anything else they’d need to be a CNA. “They really helped us to be successful. If they didn’t help us with that, especially with us being low-income and inner-city, we would have had to pay for it out of pocket when we’re already living paycheck to paycheck.” Aside from the classes, Alexia also used a variety of services that the Resource Center offers for free. “They helped me build my resume and showed me how my past experiences could actually translate into marketable skills.”

Before she joined the program, Alexia had heard of United Way in passing on a national level, but didn’t realize they offered services right in her neighborhood. Now, she comes back often to use the free internet and computers. She works hard at her new job at AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and is working to get into Erwin Technical College for their licensed practical nurse (LPN) program, working to eventually become a registered nurse.

“I want people to know that if you put your mind to it, anything can happen for you. For me, God used United Way to get me where I needed to be. If United Way Suncoast wasn’t there and hadn’t offered the CNA program, I’d probably still be working at Dunkin Donuts. Everyone should always look into their community resources. Sign up, ask questions, don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone!”

Thanks in great part to the generosity of our Tocqueville Society members, United Way Suncoast is proud to give people like Alexia the resources they need to create a financially stable and brighter future for themselves and their families. To learn more about our Neighborhood Programs, click here.