Anna Martinez may not have imagined what coming home would mean for her and her 8-year-old daughter.
Born and raised in Weslaco, Martinez and her family moved to Houston when she was in fourth grade. The years that followed were difficult. When Martinez became a teen parent, depression and anger sent her on a downward spiral. Then Martinez’s parents separated, adding to her pain.
Three years ago, Martinez decided to come home. She and her daughter moved into her childhood home in Weslaco. Knowing she needed a job to support herself and her daughter, Martinez accepted a job as a patient care technician at Weslaco Regional Rehabilitation Hospital, earning $13 per hour.
She also began school at South Texas College Mid-Valley Campus in the LVN-to-RN Program, which will allow Martinez to complete her Associate of Applied Science major in Associate Degree Nursing. Once Martinez completes this program, she will qualify for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. A passing score will result in Martinez becoming a registered nurse.
Finding support in VIDA
Single mother, working and going to school, financial struggles. Each of these factors contributes to dropping out of school. Together, they can make quitting almost certain. But a friend told Martinez about Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support, career counselors/case managers who help students address and break down the barriers to their success, group sessions to help them develop work-related skills and guest speakers.
Martinez applied to VIDA and was accepted into the program in the fall of 2019. VIDA’s wraparound services are making all the difference, and Martinez is set to graduate in July.
“It is important for me to keep focused and to be able to manage my job and school at the same time,” Martinez said. Through VIDA’s counseling, Martinez is learning the importance of empowering herself through education and, in the process, serving as the best possible role model for her daughter.
To learn more about VIDA, call 956-903-1900 (Mercedes) or 1-800-478-1770.