Meet current student Erica N.!

(from May 2020)

Meet Erica N. (pictured below, studying), a former Bright Future student, now a qualifying adult whom Bright Future Dollars for Scholars is pleased to assist. Erica's current goal is to become a registered nurse. When she is asked why she chose nursing, Erica says, "I've worked in healthcare for the last twelve years of my life; during this time I have gained a great sense of respect for nurses and the impact they make on patient lives. Being sick is hard enough, but having a good nurse who goes the extra mile makes all the difference even if it's only for that one patient. I feel pride in that. I like to help people. I think I noticed this more during my time at Children's. I've seen children come in to the hospital under some very difficult conditions and hardships. However, watching them interact with their nurses and, at times, even smile makes my heart happy."Erica N., studying

Erica originally connected with the Bright Future program when Reza Khastou visited her Roosevelt High School (in Seattle) classroom to explain the benefits of his program and of gaining a vocational certificate, college credits, and employable skills while still in high school.

Erica says, "No one in my family had gone to a four-year college-my older sister had done cosmetology training. I wanted to go to college but I wasn't sure I could do it with the cost. The idea of a head start in gaining college credits and the lower cost made sense to me. So I met with Reza."

The Bright Future model makes use of the state's Running Start program to help students gain valuable training while they are still in high school. Erica says, "Bright Future is a great option and a great resource. Lots of high school age students don't really think about doing college work in high school but it is a great option to learn what it (college) is like-and they can gain credits to have a step in the door. Without Bright Future, I would have had to get a lower-paying job out of high school."

So, Erica signed up with Bright Future and finished the dental assistant program at SVI. After high school, she worked as a dental assistant for ten or eleven years at the 45th Street Neighborcare office, but became discouraged because she spent a lot of time in the front-office role.

But by then, she had two children-now both are teenagers. Erica currently works as an interpreter for Spanish at Children's Hospital and for another agency in the Seattle area. But, having always wanted to attend college, she decided to go back to school to become a nurse.

To enter a nursing program meant Erica had to take the prerequisite courses, which included math. She struggled in math. It occurred to her to contact Reza and, at the same time, Reza messaged her. The good news is that she can receive tutoring from Reza at Polytech; Bright Future Dollars for Scholars is assisting with the cost.

The Bright Future educational model includes a well-rounded vision of case management. Erica's comments underscore the truth of the difference this approach makes for students. She says, "Reza goes above and beyond. He has discovered that I have a possible learning disability (impacting math) and takes extra time with me. You know, I could see an advisor-but an advisor would just tell me what classes to take; or, I could find a tutor, but a tutor would just tutor me. Reza wears a lot of hats!"

How does she manage-work, children, study? She says, "Getting time for everything can be a struggle. I do the best I can with what I have."

Erica is taking Chemistry now on-line and will try to do one more math class in the fall when (or if) there are in-person classes. So she has about two years and a quarter left to become a nurse. We at Bright Future Dollars for Scholars are rooting for her!

We also thank our donors who make our help possible for students like Erica!