lisa_family lisa_cna

Above: Lisa stands with her two sons (left) and proudly displaying her certificate of completion from Climb’s Certified Nursing Assistant program.

“I had a voice before Climb, but it got me into trouble,” says Lisa, who graduated from the Sweetwater Area’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training in 2016.

“I used to bottle everything up inside, then I would blow my top without thinking of the consequences,” she says. “Now I know how to manage my emotions.”

Learning to regulate your emotions—whether on the job or in your personal life—is a critical part of Climb’s program model.

Lisa found herself requiring this skill more than ever when her 5th-grade son needed help in school recently.

“My kids aren’t old enough to speak for themselves. I’m their advocate and that’s what I do.”

“I said to myself, ‘okay, you’ve learned all this stuff in Climb. Step back and look at the big picture here.’

So I did. Climb always said to practice first, to write what you need to say and use the right words. So I went into meetings with my son’s school in a very professional way, better than if I hadn’t done Climb. I would have just made everybody mad.”

Emotional regulation is an executive functioning skill, something we all need to navigate the challenges of everyday life successfully.

Recent research indicates that the chronic stress of living in poverty can significantly decrease this and other functions like decision making. That’s why Climb’s life skills classes, along with group and individual counseling with licensed therapists, can help participants through a lot of different situations at work and home.

Lisa, who was employed part-time in retail before Climb, is now a full-time CNA at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County. Her family has health insurance, and she has more than doubled her annual income.

“Having my job put me in a more stable place to help my son. He’s doing better. And I’m a different mom now. I’ve learned so much.

“I tell my kids, you can do anything you want to—look at what your mom did! I read seven chapters a night to get ready to pass the state CNA test. Now they actually sit down and do their homework.

I tell them, ‘There’s no such thing as failing in life. Everybody told me I would fail, and look at me now.’”

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