Lorena has been involved with Mi Casa for over 25 years. As a young mom, she took cooking and sewing classes at Mi Casa and sought support with the case managers as she went through a difficult time with her son, who was born seriously ill.
Recently, Lorena completed Mi Casa’s Healthcare Professions career training program, and with the support of her case manager and program coordinator, Katie Koivisto (pictured on the right with Lorena), initiated a new career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
“I thought I was done, career-wise,” Lorena said. “But now I have come back to Mi Casa, after all these years, and they reminded me that I still have an opportunity to grow and succeed.”
Lorena worked for years teaching Head Start and then transitioned to Denver Health, where she worked for over 10 years.
Toward the end of her time with Denver Health, Lorena began struggling with personal issues. “I ended up losing my job and falling flat on my face. It was quite a reality check – after 10 years I had to start all over and I had no idea where to go,” she said.
At the time, her daughter Robyn was working toward her CNA certification at Mi Casa. Lorena found herself inspired by her daughter’s stories of her clients and the camaraderie she felt with other students.
At Mi Casa, Lorena found the safe, supportive environment she needed to rebuild her confidence and start working toward a new career path. In the Healthcare Professions program, Lorena learned technical skills necessary for work as a CNA, as well as workplace skills and training to support her in her job search and through the interview process. But perhaps more important to Lorena was the support she received from her case manager and the agency that has been there for her family throughout the decades.
“This place has a heart and the people here have touched me. Mi Casa sees me the way I see myself – strong, independent, a survivor. A lot of people outside my family don’t see me like that. But it’s like another family here.”
Lorena and her daughter Robyn both completed the Healthcare Professions career training program and are now both employed full-time.
“I have the self-esteem to become better for myself and for my family,” Lorena said. “But I don’t plan to stop with the CNA, I want to go further. I want to be the voice for patients and families and advocate on their behalf.”