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“Lara”: Healing and Resilience in Syracuse

“Lara”: Healing and Resilience in Syracuse

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At twenty-three years old, Lara is a single mother of one residing on Syracuse’s Southside. With resilience and perseverance, she was able to balance her responsibilities as a mother with her education to become a high school graduate. However, her world was turned upside down when she was hit head-on by a car just weeks after her graduation.  Lara suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as a result of the accident, which made it very difficult for her to search for jobs. To make money during her recovery, Lara began babysitting for her nieces and nephews, and then for others around her neighborhood.  During this time she realized that she wanted to work with young children as a career. Lara knew some friends who had participated in the Right Turn program at Onondaga Community College (OCC), so she decided to join in order to access the program’s supports and OCC’s resources as she worked toward this goal.

Once enrolled in Right Turn, Lara was able to lay out goals in her Individualized Career Development Plan (ICDP) with her Case Manager. This process helped her understand what a career in child care would look like, and which steps she would need to take along this path. Her case manager helped her through the process of applying to OCC’s Early Child Care Certification Program, to which she was accepted. After she earns her certification, she hopes to continue on at Onondaga Community College to earn an Early Childhood Associates of Applied Science. Her first career step will be to work as a Child-Care Teacher, and in the long term, she would like to own and operate her own day-care business.

In the meantime, Lara needed a way to make money to support her family. Right Turn staff set her up with an interview for a job as a part-time aide at a local bus company in Syracuse. She was hired on the spot. This job fits well with her school schedule and is conveniently accessed from her home.

Lara is a first generation high school graduate, and will be a first generation college student. Right Turn OCC’s staff is proud of all of her accomplishments, and is confident there are many more to come!

To learn more about Onondaga Community College, click here.