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United Way Suncoast Celebrates Inspiring Achievements at CNA Graduation Ceremony

United Way Suncoast’s CNA Program Celebrates In Sulphur Springs

A momentous graduation ceremony recently unfolded at the North Tampa Community Center in Sulphur Springs, marking the culmination of the latest cohort’s successful completion of the United Way Suncoast’s CNA Program. 

The room buzzed with the assembly of CNA graduates, their faces adorned with smiles and excitement.  Inspirational speeches resonated, weaving a tapestry of motivational stories that enveloped the entire ceremony, infusing the space with a sense of accomplishment and shared triumph for the members of the cohort, who embarked on this journey in September. 

Dreams Overcome Challenges

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life—a dream and passion I’ve always had,” said Farrin Alexander.

Farrin’s commitment to pursuing her dream took a courageous turn when she seized the opportunity and left a stable five-year job. Undeterred by the challenges that loomed, Farrin faced the demands of motherhood and balancing her responsibilities with five children actively engaged in sports. She encountered unforeseen hurdles, including a car breakdown and her son’s critical health situation requiring a blood transfusion. Despite these formidable obstacles, Farrin persevered.  

Farrin Alexander

United Way Suncoast was pivotal in supporting her journey, covering essential expenses such as uniforms, books, and educational costs associated with the program. To maintain stability throughout her pursuit, Farrin assumed responsibility and pursued additional endeavors, such as DoorDash, offering notary services, and consulting for Paparazzi to showcase and sell women’s jewelry.  

The CNA program’s comprehensive support allowed her to focus on her education and pave the way for future aspirations. Farrin’s envisions becoming a Registered Nurse and eventually opening her own assisted living facility named “Growing and Glowing.” Her story exemplifies resilience, determination, and a relentless pursuit of her dreams. 

From Termination To Triumph

Tomeka Mallard, another accomplished graduate of the program, also shared how her compelling journey came into focus when United Way Suncoast financial stability senior manager Kimberly Miller presented her with the CNA opportunity.  

Tomeka Mallard

Making a decisive commitment to her education, Tomeka approached her employer seeking additional days off for classes. Unfortunately, this choice resulted in her termination. Undeterred, Tomeka prioritized her education over employment, recognizing the pursuit of a brighter future is worth the sacrifice. As a single parent of three children, she is driven by the desire to provide a better life for herself and her family. 

Expressing her long-term aspirations, Tomeka envisions becoming a Registered Nurse and is actively exploring suitable educational paths. The journey through the CNA program was not without its challenges, including difficulty finding childcare and navigating financial hardships. Grateful for the encouragement from Kimberly, Tomeka credited her entry into the program to the mentorship she received. United Way Suncoast played a crucial role in Tomeka’s journey, providing financial assistance for the program when she faced economic challenges.  

Kimberly Miller

Tomeka’s advice to aspiring CNA program or RN candidates is a powerful reminder: “Always fight for your dreams; work hard because with diligence, anything is achievable,” Tomeka said.  


Inspirational Words & A Pledge Of Ongoing Support

Hope Kiriisa graced the CNA Graduation with her presence, offering inspiration to all the graduates. Weaving her own personal success stories into the fabric of the event, she left an enduring impact on everyone present. Hope is a professional Fashion Model, Certified Project Manager (PMP), and Real Estate Agent.

Hope Kiriisa

Hope’s exceptional enthusiasm and commitment to community upliftment set her apart. As a mentor for more than a decade, she actively participates in youth summits, women’s empowerment conferences, professional development workshops, and diverse community events. Notably, her impactful contributions during her time at the City of Tampa, Parks & Recreation Dept, earned her the affectionate moniker “Coach Hope.”

United Way Suncoast was delighted to have Hope as a keynote speaker, providing inspiration to the new CNA Graduates as they embark on their exciting journeys.

Jessica Muroff, the CEO of United Way Suncoast, concluded the graduation ceremony with a sincere message for all the CNA graduates.  

“I take immense joy in witnessing the joyous expressions, heartfelt congratulations, and the sheer excitement surrounding the achievements of the CNA program,” Jessica said. “Each one of you, go forth and accomplish remarkable feats. Thank you for choosing this noble and significant career. I wish you all the very best, and should you ever need assistance from United Way Suncoast in your future endeavors, please feel free to reach out. Consider yourselves part of our family now.” 

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