Written by Adrianna Buduski, Worcester YouthBuild Instructor/Case Manager

Cheyenne, age 20, applied to the TRA-Worcester YouthBuild (YB) Program, Nursing Assistant Track excited to get her high school equivalency credential and a start on a career in nursing. She came to every appointment with the same energy as the previous, and showed great promise throughout the intake process, completing all the prerequisites. She was definitely ready for a fresh start.

Cheyenne had left high school due to an unexpected pregnancy, a turbulent home life, and the absence of a dependable support system. After giving birth to her son, Patrick, Cheyenne made the difficult decision to put him up for adoption. She knew that as much as she loved him, she was not ready to provide him with all the support a growing boy would need. Fortunately, she chose an open adoption, so she is able to maintain a great relationship with Patrick, and be an active part of his life.

As “Mental Toughness” (an orientation process that assesses an applicant’s desire and ability to succeed in the YB program) rolled around, Cheyenne made it a point to show up early, putting her best foot forward daily. She exhibited all the qualities we hope for in a YouthBuild applicant. However, halfway through, her demeanor shifted. After pulling her aside, Cheyenne not only told me that her son was battling cancer for the second time, but she also shared that her father had been found dead just days before. Despite these hardships, when most people would be falling apart, this young woman sat in class, composed, and ready to move forward. However, after Cheyenne learned she would be taking on responsibility as next of kin, it was decided that she would wait and attend the second cycle of Mental Toughness.

Cheyenne came back, ready to get things done, but she was now facing the threat of homelessness, shuffling between family houses, and the uncertainty of when things would settle. She and I worked closely together to keep her studying and focused, all the while keeping our eyes on her goals. After successfully passing four of her five High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) exams, it was time for Cheyenne to begin the American Red Cross skills training component of the program. She flew through the training with ease, receiving her CPR and Home Health Aide certificates. Shortly thereafter, Cheyenne passed her final HiSET exam, earning her High School Equivalency credential and taking the State Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) licensure exam in the same week. Within a of couple weeks, we got the great news that Cheyenne had passed her CNA exam on her first attempt. It was now official; Cheyenne was not only a newly accredited high school graduate, but a state certified nursing assistant too!

Congratulations Cheyenne! We are so proud of all you have accomplished here at Training Resources of America, Inc.!

Photo 1: Cheyenne Neal (left) with Instructor/Case Manager Adrianna Buduski

Photo 2: Front Row (left to right) TRA YouthBuild Nursing Students at the American Red Cross Graduation: Kianna Carrasquillo, Cheyenne Neal, Kaleyshmi Vazquez, Tatyanna Lynch. Back Row: Adrianna Buduski and Doug Daigle, TRA-Worcester Manager

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