Seventeen Local Students Graduate from Healthcare Solutions Nurse Aide Program
By Sarah Steele Wilson
Jun 11, 2012, 17:09
photo by Sarah Steele Wilson Class instructor Irene Davis affixed pens of recognition to the graduates shirts.
HOPEWELL - “We formed bonds with each other and we helped each other and I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” valedictorian Elizabeth Favor said to the 16 other graduates from the Healthcare Solutions Nurse Aide graduation program assembled at the Friendship Baptist Church in Hopewell on Friday evening.
Many of the young men and women who were celebrating their completion of the eight week training program on Friday had their studies funded by a $20,000 grant from the John Randolph Foundation to the Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority, which uses the funds to put residents of public housing and participants in the housing choice voucher program through the training.
“Obviously there’s a lot of pride in having completed the training, but there are more job opportunities, so it really ties into a part of the mission of the Housing Authority, and that’s to create economic self-sufficiency for our residents,” said Steve Benhof, executive director of Hopewell Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said of the program.
The grants have enabled about 70 residents of public housing and participants in the housing choice voucher program to finish the training, he said.
Several other graduates were referred to the program by the Moving Forward Agency.
The graduates spoke of the close bond that formed between them and occasionally shared personal stories of their reasons for pursuing their certification.
Salutorian Felicia Downey was inspired to act when she was unable to help as her uncle and his wife die of cancer.
“I would step forward and take the initiative to help others since I can’t help him,” she said, describing her resolve. “This is for them.”
Rhonda J.S. Mitchell, Esquire, from the office of the staff Judge Advocate at Fort Lee spoke to the graduates.
“Nobody joins the nursing profession to get rich,” she said. “People enter your profession to help other people. To help the sick to make their lives better, to improve their condition as best as they possibly can.”
She urged the newly certified nurse aides to enjoy their accomplishment and view the ceremony as a commencement, or beginning.
“This is your start,” she said. “I hope that many of you, if not all of you, will use this great foundation that you have learned to move forward. Even to be an RN or a doctor. It is not beyond your grasp.”