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Reina’s Story

“I’ve wanted to be a nurse ever since I
became a mother. I had my oldest daughter
when I was just 15. When my family found out I was pregnant, they were shocked. They shunned me and forbid me from seeing my daughter’s dad. I ended up moving into a trailer and graduated from high school early. At 17, I was living on my own. I eventually moved in with Lilly’s father when we were just 18, but we were so young, and still figuring everything out.

My priest helped me get a job as a Spanish
translator at a pediatrician’s office. I just loved being around kids and helping them feel better – I knew immediately this is what I wanted to do. Eventually I became a Certified Medical Assistant, then later an LVN.

I found out about Catholic Charities at orientation for my RN program.

I was definitely interested, but I didn’t apply at first. I just kind of assumed I wouldn’t be accepted. Halfway through my first semester, I was running low on funds, and my friend reminded me about Catholic Charities, and I applied. To my surprise, I was accepted into the program.

At the time, I was really going through a lot. My marriage was falling apart and I wasn’t even sure where my children and I were going to live. Up until I started nursing school, my husband and I were doing pretty well financially – he had a job in the oil field and I was working as a nurse manager.

"Thanks to Catholic Charities, my girls will never have to struggle the way I did. If you invest in your education, you’ll never be stuck. You’ll always have options."

During my transition from LVN to RN, my husband left his job to spend more time with our daughters. I had also left my job to focus on school.

I thought I had saved enough to support
myself, but quickly found out that was not the case. It was impossible to commit to a new job when my school schedule changed almost every week. That took a huge toll on our relationship. He turned to drinking to cope and I quickly found myself in a situation that wasn’t safe for my girls.

I was suddenly on my own. My Catholic
Charities Navigator, Kristi, gave me all the resources I needed. From workshops to budgeting, she laid everything out in black and white, including how to manage my time when I started working at a local nursing home. She also set me up with counseling and when I eventually decided to follow-through with my divorce, she helped guide me through the process AND helped me financially.

Going through my separation without Catholic Charities would have been impossible. To continually funnel energy into a marriage that wasn’t being reciprocated was exhausting. My emotions were up and down and I was suffering
from both anxiety and depression. 

During my second semester with Catholic Charities, my house burned down. Imagine sitting in class when you get a message like that. Imagine being told you’ve lost everything. Catholic Charities stepped in to help with everything, from insurance to housing to a new set of scrubs. Kristi and I went down a whole checklist to make sure I was utilizing every resource available to me to help in our recovery.

Without Catholic Charities, I would not be graduating. I mean, I couldn’t even afford my books in my first semester, let alone support my family through a divorce and a fire.

Thanks to Catholic Charities, my girls will never have to struggle the way I did. If you invest in your education, you’ll never be stuck. You’ll always have options. Thank you, Catholic Charities, for making sure I’ll never be stuck again.”

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