Erica is a 41-year-old single mother to three children, who are 11, 12, and 19 years old, living in Georgia. As she was studying to become a nurse at Chamberlain University, she worried about paying tuition and balancing her time with school, work, and family. It was then that she joined H.O.P.E. Inc.’s program, gaining the financial and personal support to complete her degree with excellence and begin her career.
Erica has worked in the medical field as a medical assistant for 15 years. However, she always wanted to become a nurse and enhance her degree. For years, it felt like there was no chance for her to return to school — she was busy taking care of her children and her father, who was ill from cancer. “I put those things before myself,” she says. “But once I got the opportunity to go, I took it and ran with it.”
When Erica was accepted into Chamberlain University’s nursing program, she quickly discovered that it was very difficult to keep up with the financial obligations and day-to-day responsibilities of managing a home. She started to wonder if it was possible to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse without putting her children’s dreams and aspirations on hold.
Then, Erica received an email from her university about H.O.P.E. Inc.’s program. She applied for the program’s financial assistance and was accepted as a participant. For her, she was accepted into the H.O.P.E. program during a time she needed it the most.
“It was a time when I wanted to give up, and I didn’t know if I was going to make it through nursing school,” Erica says. “And yet, I could always call H.O.P.E., and they were always there for me. Whether it was just to talk or to offer advice or encouragement, they were the outside support when you can’t go to your family.”
H.O.P.E. Inc. provided Erica with financial assistance for her monthly mortgage payments. However, the support did not stop there. H.O.P.E. also offered additional resources, such as a personal financial coach, budgeting classes, counseling, and life coaching that helped Erica prepare for life post-grad.
“I was previously living paycheck-to-paycheck and would get behind on things to pay something else off,” she says. “H.O.P.E. helped me get on track and get my emergency fund together. Now that I’ve finished school, I’ll be going into a different income bracket. They taught me how to budget and maintain it.”
H.O.P.E. also helped when it came to supporting Erica’s children. During holidays, they would provide gifts off of the childrens’ wish lists, and they also helped buy school supplies when the kids went back to school. When Erica’s oldest son was injured and couldn’t play football in college, H.O.P.E. offered him a scholarship so that he could get the supplies he needed for school.
On August 25, 2023, Erica graduated from Chamberlain’s nursing school, and now she is lined up to start her new career working in an emergency room department in November.
“Without H.O.P.E., there is no possible way I would have been able to finish my program,” Erica says. “My father got sick with cancer, and we were dealing with that. I had a lot on my plate. But they gave me a cushion, and they made it doable.”
“The program works. They don’t ask a lot of you, but if you keep up with the criteria, you are guaranteed to complete every program you are trying to finish. They are always there, one phone call or email away. They are the support you’ve never had. And they are going to make sure you finish.” (Erica, 2023 Graduate)