Aime Bautista was a single mother of an 8-year-old daughter, working as a sales associate and earning $8.25 per hour. A lifelong resident of Mercedes who was raised by her grandparents, Bautista and her daughter were living with her grandmother.
In the summer of 2019, Bautista gave birth to another daughter and no longer had a job. A student in the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement told Bautista about the program, knowing she had a strong desire to earn a degree in nursing but did not have the financial means to finish college. Then fate intervened.
Bautista applied and was accepted into VIDA. In the fall of 2019, she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. She had earned an associate’s degree in nursing from South Texas College.
“VIDA’s financial support helped me pay for the last semester of nursing school,” Bautista said. “VIDA helped me with child care and tuition and even uniforms. I am so thankful for the VIDA program for helping me finish my associate’s degree in nursing. My counselor Leslly was amazing at motivating me and always asking me about my well-being and my children’s well-being.”
A push forward
Since graduating in December, Bautista said she has had several job offers.
“But I’d rather study for my NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination-RN) and attain my registered-nurse license,” Bautista said. “Passing the NCLEX is a major step.”
Bautista readily expressed her gratitude to VIDA, fully aware that the future looks much brighter for her and her daughters.
“VIDA gives back to the community so much by helping people earning minimum wage get an education and earn a lot more money,” she said. “Thank you so much to the VIDA program. You are a blessing to the community and to students!”
VIDA offers individuals across the Rio Grande Valley the opportunity to step out of minimum-wage jobs and into high-demand, skilled positions. This significantly increases income and improves participants’ lives. The nonprofit organization’s wrap-around services include group sessions on topics such as time management and dealing with stress, soft-skills training in areas like resume preparation, interviewing and financial management, and individual counseling. VIDA’s goal goes beyond job placement to job retention and job advancement.