TEXARKANA, Texas -- Mission Texarkana and the local United Way's Certified Nursing Assistant training program graduated a new class last week, and the graduates got to hear from a noteworthy speaker.
Typically, about 40 students a year graduate from this program, which aims to help provide financially or educationally disadvantaged people a chance to get a nursing certificate. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, those numbers have dwindled, but the program is still changing lives where it can.
This particular ceremony featured five individuals who received a certificate.
LaMoya Burks, a Community Impact Committee member for the United Way of Greater Texarkana and head librarian/adjunct professor at Texarkana College, was the keynote speaker at the graduation.
She read the graduates the poem, "See it Through," by Edgar Albert Guest and spoke to them about potential outlets that could be beneficial to them in their futures.
"Their next level is solely dictated by them and the route they want to go," Burks said. "We all have a story, but their stories are stories that have layers, and they will continue to have layers. So, for Mission Texarkana, United Way and just us as individuals, it takes all of us to understand those stories.
"It's not just an organizational factor or an institutional factor. It's a systematic process that has to continue and be consistent to help people like those in this program. You have hidden jewels in the city that just need a little bit more support to shine."
As a Community Impact Committee member, Burks has the responsibility of evaluating the impact of funded programs within the nonprofit's web. And she said the impact this particular program has on the community is tremendous.
"I think it's so good because traditionally with anything that has to do with career readiness, you watch the people come through the door, and it's individualized," she said. "But in this case, we're going to the people. We've made success for them and the community, and we're starting where they are. It's a building-up process."
The program was established in 2001. The course provided is a month long, and is taught by Liz Gunn -- instructor and program director for the CNA program.
(To learn more visit missiontexarkana.org online.)