Samira came to the U.S., from Lebanon, with her husband and two sons. Her husband died unexpectedly and she found herself in a strange country with no family support. English was not her first language and she struggled to find employment. Finding a part-time job at Dunkin’ Donuts, Samira was able to sign up for English classes to improve her language skills. She heard about Project OPEN’s CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) program and quickly applied. She was a memorable candidate and readily convinced the panel that she was dedicated to improving her children’s lives.
She was approved to start the program with a promise from her employer she could work weekends while in school. It was a promise they did not keep. The Council on Aging’s case management was vital to keeping her in school and on track. These wrap around services and scant resources was enough to keep a roof over their heads. Samira’s class became a family very quickly and all agreed to wrap their arms around her as she had no one else to count on. They worked with Samira on her homework and studying for her tests. She experienced a tough time in this accelerated program and was in danger of failing important tests. She was determined not to give up and it all came down to her final exam for Home Health Aide.
She dug deep and passed that test with flying colors. Study groups of her fellow students was a big help. Samira passed the rest of the classes and graduated May 17, 2017. She didn’t stop long to celebrate, even though she had to wait for a date to take her state test for CNA, Samira went to Plantation Bay Rehabilitation Center and they hired her giving her 90 days to take and pass her test. She took her test on July 7 and passed easily. Samira stated that one of greatest moments in her life was to forward to Project OPEN a copy of her CNA license and new Plantation Bay employee badge reading Certified Nursing Assistant. Samira is but one example of how determination, support of her classmates and community partners made such a difference today and tomorrow.