April’s desire to become a nurse began when she was 20 years old. A supply clerk in a nursing home, she dreamt she was holding the hand of a resident who was dying. She knew then that she had a special calling to nursing.

After becoming a full-time nurse, her passion for caring for patients and educating them about their health continued to grow. It drove her to want to further her education and pursue a degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner. That path, however, was filled with barriers for this working, 40-year-old mother of five.

“I knew that if I decided to go back to school, there would be major sacrifices for my family,” she said. “I was uncertain how we would survive on one income.”

Through a friend, April learned about Catholic Charities’ St. Rita Workforce Program and decided to apply. The skills building program operates in partnership with Kansas City Kansas Community College, Johnson County Community College, University of St. Mary’s (Leavenworth) and Donnelly College. In addition to the educational support, the program assists participants with basic needs that can become major challenges for someone pursuing an academic degree or certification.

“Not only did the program provide financial support while I was in school and unable to work, but there were so many encouraging people rooting for me,” she said. “There were several days, I am certain, that we wouldn’t have had meals if it weren’t for the Catholic Charities food pantry.”

April, who successfully passed her boards, is incredibly grateful for the St. Rita program and those who support it.

“Without God’s grace and your generosity, I would not have been able to accomplish one of the most challenging goals in my life,” added April.