A Supportive Environment Makes Change Possible
Alexandria Brown didn’t have a lot of opportunities growing up in Baltimore but when she escaped a domestic violence situation and enrolled in Florida Career College’s Medical Assistant Technician program in Jacksonville, she found the support she needed to start a new life.
“I love the staff at FCC,” she said. “I probably would have given up a long time ago, but they encourage me in ways I never thought I would be encouraged.”
Through the school Alexandria not only achieved her high school diploma and her Medical Assistant Technician diploma, but she also found work in the medical field, support to find housing, and a boost in confidence that is carrying her forward.
FULFILLING A NEED TO HELP
The support the FCC offered was unexpected for Alexandria. She put off invitations to come to the campus several times but after her fifth missed appointment, she decided to give it a chance.
“I grew up in a rough neighborhood where people really just passed you by,” she said. “They didn’t care, they just passed you. I gave up on school a long time ago. I dropped out when all these things were happening. It was too much for me. Growing up no one really inspired you to do better or push for better.”
The last straw for Alexandria came when she lost a pregnancy at six months due to domestic violence. She decided to take a brave step forward and move to Florida.
When she arrived, Alexandria ended up in a domestic violence shelter, unsure of where to take her future. A video on Tiktok for Florida Career College caught her eye. She had never graduated high school and the opportunity to train for a career and get her diploma at the same time was appealing.
“I love that with Medical Assisting you can help people but keep a boundary,” she said. “Sometimes we help people that don’t deserve our help or are not worthy of our help and they abuse our help. I think this is creating a positive boundary but feeding a need of mine to help people at the same time.”
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‘IF IT WERE MEANT TO BE EASY, IT WASN’T MEANT TO HAVE‘
Alexandria immediately took to what she was learning.
“As a student Alexandria has been amazing from out the gate,” said Shandriece Shine, Alexandria’s instructor. “I asked her to be a student ambassador because of the qualities she brought. She’s a self-starter. She has been a role model for the students. She has also been a resource for the students to help them through the program.”
“I love helping people,” Alexandria said. “I love to be able to influence people and help them in ways that maybe I didn’t get that same help. Maybe there are people that feel like giving up. I love to help people that are struggling or that are unfamiliar with the computer system and that may be a challenge for them. For me to be able to help them or encourage them to keep going is amazing… I’m proud to be able to help people that are trying to get the same goals met that I am.”
Despite her desire to help other students, Alexandria found herself in need of help too. She left the domestic violence shelter when she thought she had a new opportunity but soon found herself homeless again and this time with no shelter to fall back on.
“The support from the staff at FCC is amazing,” she said. “As I became homeless, they made sure to go out of their way to call so many shelters. It wasn’t just one person working on it, it was the person who recruited me, it was career services, it was my teacher, and they were all working to make sure I didn’t sleep in my car anymore. Whether it was feeding me or buying me something to eat, making sure I had some food, they have been there every step of the way.”
“She has managed to fight through issues and come up with solutions through communicating with me and our student services coordinator,” Ms. Shine said. “She’s just been amazing.”
Alexandria graduated with honors and was hired by her externship site.
“I used to not have too much self-worth or as you could say I didn’t really have faith in myself,” she said. “I’ve changed not only my character but my professional presence. I’ve grown so much. I would tell anyone else don’t give up. I would tell them it’s worth it. Anything you struggle for today is going to be worth so much more when it’s done. If it were meant to be easy, it wasn’t meant to have.”