Families Succeeding Together

October 3, 2012 | Chicago, IL

Sometimes, courage and determination seem to be in the genes. Very often children become successful due to the support and inspiration of one or both of their parents. Inspiration and support can be found in many places, but the bonds that hold them together can only be strengthened because of the support given by a parent. Such is the case of Nela Baday and Joanna Cordoba, mother and daughter that have strengthened each other’s lives because of their commitment to see their dreams come true. Both are participants in Erie House’s Pathways to Success Program.

Nela started at Erie House as a participant in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Nela continued on, taking computer literacy classes at Erie House’s Little Village (La Villita) Center. Her dream has always been to become a nurse and when she found out that Erie House was starting a bridge program to help individuals get into the health care industry, she jumped at the chance. Shortly after learning about the opportunity, Nela got enrolled in the Health Care Pre-Medical Assistant class of the Pathways to Success Program.

Following the track set by Erie House’s Pathways to Success Program, Nela finished the bridge program and passed her Biology 120 course at Wilbur Wright Community College in Chicago. As she was finishing the bridge program, Nela needed to find work. Thankfully, due to her new skills, she got a job as a nurse assistant. While working she is studying English at Wright College, expanding her possibilities. For now, she is trying to provide for her family, but one day, she will go back to school and try again to reach the goal of becoming Medical Assistant.

Nela’s biggest aspiration is for her daughter, Joanna. Nela states, “It is ok, it’s all worth it, as long as [my] daughter Joanna finishes the bridge program and one day becomes a nurse.”

Joanna’s story is not unlike any else’s. For four years, Joanna worked as a waitress at a Denny’s Restaurant, with no opportunity in sight. Encouraged by her mother, she registered in the Pathways to Success Program at Erie House and started taking classes. Joanna became classmates with her mother Nela. Working and studying at the same time has proven to be very hard for Joanna, but she has persevered with the help of her mother.

In the fall of 2011, Joanna was certified as a Nurse Assistant and got hired at the Regency Rehabilitation Center in Chicago earning $9.50 an hour. After a few short months, she was promoted and she is currently being trained as a Dialysis Technician and will soon be earning $12.50 an hour. Joanna’s day begins at 4 o’clock in the morning, but her life is much different than waiting tables. She is truly grateful for the opportunities presented to her because of an education she obtained.

Joanna’s plans are to continue with her education and go back to school for the Medical Assistant program. Nela’s dream of becoming a Nurse Assistant is becoming true through her daughter, and classmate, Joanna.


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