Koudedia recently signed up for Santa Maria’s Comprehensive Case Management and Employment Program (CCMEP), hoping to find some support for her pursuit of medical certifications. She’s a single mom to a 1-year-old, so you can imagine juggling it all wasn’t easy. But then she met Aisha Matthis, her coach at Santa Maria, who helped her navigate her career goals and tackle any roadblocks along the way.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in every three residents of Cincinnati finds themselves below the federal poverty threshold. Disturbingly, our city holds the unfortunate distinction of being ranked second in the nation for child poverty, as reported by the Children’s Defense Fund. And a significant majority of these struggling households are led by single mothers like Koudedia.

Koudedia had her heart set on the medical field, knowing it would pave the way for her dream of nursing school down the line. With Aisha’s expert guidance, Koudedia chose Larock Healthcare Academy in Florence to pursue her certification. Santa Maria was able to cover her enrollment costs through a combo certificate program with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding.

While studying at Larock, Koudedia took on a part-time job and joined Santa Maria’s 12-week Work Experience program to bring in extra cash for daily expenses. By the end of her time at Larock, Koudedia had not one, but four certifications under her belt: Phlebotomy Tech, EKG Monitor, Medical Assistant, and Patient Care Technician. She also graduated with flying colors, scoring a whopping 93% and landing herself as a top student in her class.

Once Koudedia received her certificates, Santa Maria rewarded her with a gift card incentive and Aisha helped Koudedia spruce up her resume, highlighting all of her new skills and certifications. Aisha shared, “I have been working with Koudedia for a year now, and we have been facing her personal challenges together. Despite these challenges, Koudedia has remained motivated and has always been honest and open with me about her life and career. It has been a rewarding process to be a part of her journey as she completed her studies at Larock Academy and embarks on a new chapter in her life.

Koudedia is going to take a well-deserved breather before diving back in. She hopes to work with Aisha further and enroll in post-secondary education in the fall, all set to pursue her registered nursing degree. When asked about her time with Aisha and Santa Maria, Koudedia said, “If you have Aisha as your Coach, she cares and wants you to succeed! Thank you, Santa Maria, for everything. I love how you motivated me to accomplish so much in such a short period, always giving me hope and the push I needed!

Here’s to Koudedia and her incredible journey! We can’t wait to see what heights she’ll reach next! But one thing’s for sure: with your support, Santa Maria can continue changing lives like Koudedia’s, one success story at a time. Ready to make a difference? Donate today and be a part of something truly special!