(Photos Above: At commencement from Climb’s Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program, Michelle’s daughter had a few things to say, too. Michelle loves getting to know residents at Sage View Care Center.)

For Michelle, giving up was not an option, especially when she was so close to finishing her Climb Wyoming Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training. It would have been understandable to call it quits: a fire had destroyed the front of her house, leaving it uninhabitable and needing a new roof and extensive repair.

Michelle had faced adversity before. “I wanted to do Climb because I was so tired of not having enough money to get things fixed,” she says. “My kitchen drain leaked, so I had to keep a bucket under the sink. My cars were always old and breaking down.” 

Earning her CNA license offered a new direction, a way out of working as a bartender and in dead-end jobs that didn’t support her young daughter after a divorce.

“I kept going to training,” Michelle recalls of the day after the fire. “I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.”

Michelle buckled down with extra determination after the fire. She and her daughter moved in with her grandmother. She stayed up late studying for her CNA licensing test. Meanwhile, Climb’s mental health services gave Michelle a chance to process things that had been weighing her down for years and sometimes making it hard to hold down jobs.

After graduating and earning her license, Michelle immediately started her Climb job placement at Sage View Care Center in Rock Springs, where she continues to work.

Recently, while helping a resident settle into bed, the woman told Michelle her life story. “She told me about her husband who she missed so much,” says Michelle. “And that she hadn’t talked to anyone like this in years.”

Today, Michelle’s house has been repaired, and she recently purchased a newer, more reliable car. She opened a savings account for her daughter. “Looking back, I’m really glad I didn’t give up!”