The American Red Cross (best known to most of us for disaster relief and blood drives) also runs a Nurse Assistant Training program located in West Baltimore that the BWGC funded this past year as a first-time grantee.
Not many grant applicants speak so directly to the Circle’s mission of helping women towards self-sufficiency than this educational program. Upon completion of a 4-8 week training course, the students are prepared to sit for the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and the Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) accrediting exams. There are numerous job options for these graduates – in hospitals, private homes, assisted living facilities and mental health facilities. As a complement to the nurse assistant training, the Red Cross offers life skills instruction, including the tools needed to look for a job and prepare to enter the workforce.
Specifically our grant money will be paying for 20 partial scholarships for students from West Baltimore. The typical student is female, 20-34 years of age, living below the poverty line with young children to support. The program does not offer total tuition, but requires the student to make a partial payment herself to assure individual commitment.
The first five women to receive our scholarships were enrolled in classes in October. We were able to speak with three students attending the day program ; the other two students are in the evening program.
These young women thanked the Circle profusely for the funding. They all said they would not be able to attend without the money we provided, and that the program was a game changer in their lives. They shared their plans for future employment. One stated how proud her children were of her, another said how she eventually wanted to be a nurse at Hopkins, and the third shared her happiness of being able to help other people.
The program director, Martha Gross, expects all 20 scholarships to be distributed by January at the latest. She invited our members to attend a graduation ceremony of these BWGC scholarship recipients and will keep us informed of the graduation dates.