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Thursday, October 5, 2023

‘Catholic Charities Gave Me Courage’ HiSET Graduate and Mom of Three Briyanna on Finding the Motivation to Complete Her Degree

“Catholic Charities gave me courage,” said Briyanna Millien, a recent graduate of Catholic Charities North’s High School Equivalency (HiSET) program in Lynn. “The people in that building believe in me.”

A single mother of three children all under the age of five, Briyanna said balancing motherhood and pursuing career goals has not always been easy. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, Briyanna struggled to find her path and often felt she lacked a support system.

“What people often don’t understand is that when you don’t feel supported and good about yourself, you don’t feel motivated to do anything,” said Briyanna. “I felt like I didn’t have the clothes to go to school, or to do this or that. I just shut down.”

It wasn’t until Briyanna became a mother that she realized just how capable and driven she was.

“My children are my motivation for everything,” she said.

Briyanna reached out to Catholic Charities North to express her desire to complete her high school diploma. While in the process of moving into a shelter in Peabody with her children, after an experience of domestic abuse, Briyanna received a follow up call from Ana Stipanovic, a case manager and teacher at Catholic Charities North.

“Ana gave me the push I needed to pursue Catholic Charities’ HiSET program,” said Briyanna. “She has been such a great influence on me.”

Through Ana’s relentless support, Briyanna enrolled and weeks later aced the HISET exam, celebrating her graduation the same week her son graduated from preschool.

“We got to do it together,” she said. “If it wasn’t for Ana, and Catholic Charities, I never would have taken the test.”

While still in the process of looking for permanent housing, Briyanna remains confident that good things are coming for her and her family; giving up is no longer an option.

Briyanna is grateful for Ana’s continued support as she works toward her goal of applying to nursing school. Having previously worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Mass General, Briyanna wants to work in a healthcare setting so that she can help others in need.

“If you are sick, if you are alone, if you are in pain, I want to be that person there helping you feel comfortable,” she said. “Now that I have this diploma, there’s no stopping me.”

To learn more about Catholic Charities Boston’s Adult Education and Workforce Development programs, click here.

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