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Thursday, December 21, 2023

‘It was a miracle for me:’ NA/HHA Program Provides the Gift of Opportunity

Oluwatosin, a recent graduate of Catholic Charities Boston’s NA/HHA program, said the greatest gift he has received this year is the opportunity to channel his passion for helping others into a nursing career. Born and raised in Nigeria, Oluwatosin spent several years as the primary caretaker of his father after he suffered from a stroke. Despite the challenges this entailed, Oluwatosin said it was a formative experience that inspired him to seek a job in nursing, alongside his career in research.

“My experience caring for my father when he was sick taught me a lot and motivates me every single day,” he said.

In August, Oluwatosin moved from Nigeria to Boston to work as a researcher at a local university. In his free time, he searched for CNA training opportunities. Upon discovering Catholic Charities Boston’s affordable NA/HHA program in South Boston, he quickly submitted an application, beginning the class in late November.

Since then, Oluwatosin says he has expanded his understanding of medical terminology, healthcare skills, and the importance of bringing compassion to every patient in need.

“Taking this course is an opportunity to add more value to myself and learn some skills,” Oluwatosin said. “I’ve learned how to care for patients, how to be compassionate, how to assist them in their daily activities. I look forward to being able to help people.”

Oluwatosin said what makes the program special is the incredible staff leading the class, including Kathleen Curran, NA/HHA Program Director, and Beatrice Quessa, a career coach for adult education students, who Oluwatosin said have helped the students identify employers and determine their next steps upon completing the course.

“I love the way the program works,” he said. “Even before we’ve completed the training, they are already consulting on our behalf.”

For other students who have immigrated to the U.S., Catholic Charities’ NA/HHA course is an opportunity to continue the career they’ve built for themselves in their native countries.

Berengere, for example, a recent graduate of the Agency’s NA/HHA program, said she had worked as a nurse for years back in Haiti. When she moved to the U.S. in May to build a new life for herself, she said she was eager to find a pathway back into the career she loved. Taking the NA/HHA course has not only provided her with the credentials to apply for a job here but has also helped her to improve her English fluency and find a sense of community in Boston.

“The class is like a family,” she said. “It is amazing.”

The affordability of the Agency’s NA/HHA program is also particularly valuable for students, helping many gain access to opportunities they might not otherwise have.

One recent graduate of the program living in Boston, Castrande, said when she discovered that the tuition of Catholic Charities Boston’s program would be free – through a video promoting it on Tik Tok – she nearly leapt out of her seat.

“I had been searching and searching and I couldn’t find an affordable school to go to for CNA training,” she said. “They are all so expensive. When I heard about Catholic Charities amazing CNA program, I went straight to my laptop and applied. It was a miracle for me.”

Learn more about how you can support Catholic Charities Boston’s clients in need this holiday season and beyond here. Part 9 of our Twelve Days of Giving Series, sharing heartwarming stories about people spreading joy and compassion within our community this holiday season.

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