Nela Baday: Paving Her Path

August 18, 2011 | Chicago, IL

By Angélica Herrera | August 18, 2011

Nela Baday says it was fate that brought her to Erie House.

Standing outside of her home one day, Nela mentioned to a neighbor that she was looking to take computer classes in the South Side. Her neighbor pointed across the street to Erie’s Little Village site and said, “Why don’t you take classes there?”

She never imagined how setting foot in Erie would change her life.

As if taking Tech Promoter and ESL classes simultaneously at Erie House wasn’t challenging enough, Nela added Pathways to Health Care Bridge class to the mix.

When she started the class, Nela was working full-time as an in-home health care giver and attending classes four times a week.

“At first, I felt like there was too much schooling going on,” Nela says with a laugh. “But after a while, I was more relaxed and craved that rhythm.”

She suddenly grows quiet, pausing to listen for sounds in the other room. Her full-time job is providing home care services for three elderly people that includes personal care services such as bathing, feeding and rotating bed-ridden elderly people.

On this particular day, she’s looking after a woman with Alzheimer’s.

“I see her disease evolving and the changes that occur as a result, and I find it all so fascinating,” Nela says excitedly.

Throughout the years, people told Nela that her patience was admirable. So when Nela found this job, she says “I knew this is what I wanted to do.”

“I love my job, but I want to advance,” she adds.

At 48 years old, she will do precisely that.

In less than a month, Nela will start attending Medical Assistant classes at Wilbur Wright College. She credits Erie House for helping her get to this point.

“I love asking so many questions, so the more English I learned at Erie, the more comfortable I felt asking questions,” Nela says. “It’s great because I can apply what I’m learning to my own life—and how something as simple as a change in a nerve can transform you so much.”

One by one, Nela says she is achieving her goals. She modestly admits that she doesn’t feel like she’s achieved much.

This outsider begs to differ.


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