I was a client of Step by Step in 2004. My mother passed away from cancer when I was six years old, and my father took on the responsibility of raising two daughters on his own. He raised us to be successful, with drive and a willingness to work hard to achieve our goals. It wasn’t an easy task for him, but he gave us 100% all of the time.
I graduated from Thomas Jefferson High with a 3.8 GPA and was viewed as the one who made good choices and had a good life ahead of her. I went on to complete two years of pre- requisites in Nursing at Eastern Washington University. I then applied and was accepted to the University of Memphis Nursing School.
Three weeks before traveling across the country for school, I found out I was pregnant. It was a shock for me and all those who surrounded me. No longer was I viewed as the successful one, who couldn’t make mistakes. I wasn’t married, and the father of my child was also leaving the state to attend college in Indiana.
When I went to my family and friends, they wanted me to have an abortion. Out of fear, I considered this as an option. They told me - “You are not ready to be a mom. You need to have an abortion, go on to nursing school, and continue your life. God will forgive you.” The reaction was the same from everyone, except my sister. She reminded me that my life wouldn’t be over after having a baby, and that babies are a gift from God. My sister assured me that I would have her support, and she helped me get connected with Step By Step.
Against great adversity, I promised God that if he gave me the strength to get through this, I would use my life as a testimony to encourage others. So my journey began. I dropped out of nursing school and got a full time job. I was scared and disappointed with myself, but I knew I was making the right choice.
When I met Sarah, my Step By Step case manager, I felt so blessed to be surrounded by someone who believed that having a baby was a challenge, but that it wasn’t insurmountable. She provided me with words of encouragement, strength and reassurance. She was a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. She walked me through each and every step I needed. She saw more in me than most of my family and friends. She also encouraged me to re- apply to nursing school. She gave me peace that it would all work out. So, I did.
Pregnant and working full time, I applied to every nursing school in Washington State. I was accepted to the Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing. I was so ecstatic, but I asked myself, “How am I going to afford such an expensive school?” By then, my child was 3 months old and I had already seen Sarah for my final visit. But, before she left, she reminded me that her door was always open.
One year into nursing school, I received a call from Sarah. She told me about a scholarship that Step by Step was offering and encouraged me to apply. I wasn’t sure I would get it, but I wrote my essay, submitted it, and left the rest up to God. I am honored to tell you, I was awarded the Clem O’Neil scholarship. Being awarded this scholarship meant more to me than just having part of my school paid for. For me, it meant that someone still believed in me and wanted to see me succeed. It meant that although I was no longer an active client of Step by Step, I wasn’t forgotten, and my life and goals were still important in the eyes of Step by Step. They could see the hard work I put in and wanted to stand beside me to help me complete what I had started.
With the help of Step by Step, and my family and friends, I graduated from the Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing in December of 2008. Since then, I have been able to provide for my son in a way I could
have never imagined. We own our home. We are able to spend quality time together, and I can afford to do most of the activities we like to participate in. I couldn’t be blessed with more.
Ever since my time as a client with Sarah, I had the desire to work for Step by Step. I knew I needed to get some basic nursing experience under my belt, so I got a job at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma right out of school. I called Sarah often, requesting that she ask Krista if there was a job for me. In 2012, I finally got the call for an interview. In February, I was hired on.
I couldn’t be more excited. Now, it is time for me to fulfill my promise. It is time for me to invest in the future of others. It is time for me use my life as a testimony and to provide other women with words of encouragement, strength, and reassurance. It is time for me to be the listening ear and the shoulder to cry on. It is time. It is their time.