Viktoria

Viktoria is starting her senior year in her diagnostic ultrasound program at Seattle University. An immigrant from Belarus, she and her husband arrived in U.S. about five years ago and are working towards degrees in the healthcare field. Her daughter, Anna, will be starting Pre-K this fall.  Her ultimate career goal is to help diagnose congenital heart defects at prenatal and postnatal stages. Viktoria’s dream job is to help save babies’ lives.

“I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to go to college without Goodwin Connections’ support and assistance throughout my whole educational journey of a fresh immigrant, a first-generation college graduate, and a parent. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to persevere my career goals and the chance to change my life for the better.” ~Viktoria

Our students have many talents (beyond their academic achievements). Viktoria is also a very talented photographer and recipe developer.

We asked her to create a Happy Hour drink for the end of summer and she developed these beautiful and tasty creations for us. Take a look at Viktoria’s Instagram account for inspired recipes and incredible photos!

Strawberry Spritzer
Ingredients: (makes 1 serving)
4 oz. sauvignon blanc wine
1 oz. vodka
2 tbs rhubarb syrup (or agave nectar)
2-4 fresh strawberries, chopped
Club soda
Mint leaves
Edible flowers (optional)

Method:
In a tall glass, place strawberries and muddle them to release the juices. Add syrup, vodka, and wine. Stir the mixture with a spook. Add ice cubes up to the top of the glass. Pour in club soda. Garnish with mint leaves and edible flowers.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade
Ingredients: (makes 4 servings)
8 lemons, juiced, about 1 cup of lemon juice
3/4 cup agave nectar
4 cups water
12-15 strawberries, tops removed
A few more strawberries to garnish
1/2 cup fresh basil

Method:
In a tall glass, add the strawberries and basil.
Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture for about 20 seconds just until the mixture turns pink and the basil is finely chopped.

Juice the lemons and transfer the juice into a large pitcher. Add the agave nectar and the water and stir to combine. Add the strawberry-basil mixture. Let cool entirely. Pour over ice into the glasses and garnish with fresh strawberries and basil leaves.

 

Help is here…and more is on the way!

Our healthcare workers

Since the 1990s, Goodwin Connections has supported thousands of student parents with
childcare expenses, college tuition, and basic needs. Throughout that time, hundreds of current healthcare workers earned their college degrees. These moms and dads have been taking care of our community for many years including through the ongoing pandemic.

“Our student parents are incredibly resilient. They have come through the other side of whatever life has thrown at them and they are committed to finishing college and starting their careers,” says Rachel Sanchez, Program & Community Outreach Manager at Goodwin Connections. “Many have been moved by a caring nurse or social worker who got them through a challenging time and have been inspired to give back.”

As we look to the future, nurses, dental hygienists, respiratory therapists, mental health practitioners, and physical therapists will be in very high demand. It is more important than ever to support those who are going into these fields as the U.S. population ages and as healthcare workers retire.

“More than 50% of our current student parents will begin a healthcare-related career after graduation,” says Sanchez. “We’re honored to introduce this next generation—and we’re so inspired by what keeps them motivated, we’re dedicating this issue to hear straight from them. Please join us in thanking these future healthcare workers for their commitment to keeping us healthy and safe.”

“I have worked in the healthcare industry for 10 years now. My goal as a future nursing professional is to support my patients during their time of healing, and educate others to promote healthy lifestyles for our future generations.”
-Nicole, Pacific Lutheran University, Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing


“I was unsure of what I wanted to do, so I became a nursing assistant while working on my prerequisites. During that time, I realized nursing was the right career for me. I love helping people, even if it’s something simple and small. Nursing is such a rewarding
job and I wish I would have done this years ago. I will graduate in March 2021, and I am beyond excited to start my career.”
-Gabby, Shoreline Community College, Associate Degree, Nursing Read more.

Embeba

This month, we are featuring student parents from our Family Connections Program who are going into the healthcare field. We asked them what inspired them to become our community’s next nurses, respiratory therapists, dental hygienists, and mental health professionals. Here’s Embeba’s story, a mom of two, a student at North Seattle College, and a future nurse…

My father molded me to ensure academic success. His influence on my life has brought me to where I am today, a nursing student.

My father was an Eritrean soldier. In 2006, he became sick while he was forced to dig for gold by the Eritrean government for several months. They forced him to keep digging until he got really sick, and then they let him come home. 

After suffering for many months, my father died when I was barely 12. I was angered and saddened, and I thought that if I were a medical professional, I could give him the treatment he needed to save his life. 

His passing shaped my interest in becoming a future healthcare worker. Compelled to begin working in nursing, I am studying so that I can help spare other people from the same pain and loss.  

Since my father’s death, I have hoped to become a skilled and compassionate healthcare provider, and I have reached a pivotal moment in my career in which I am eager for further training and studies so that I can evolve into the medical professional that I envisioned when I lost my father.

With Goodwin Connections financial and emotional support, I have made significant achievements not only in my academics and professionally, but also in my personal life. 

I am currently working towards an Associate Degree in Pre-Nursing at North Seattle College which I plan to finish this quarterAfterwards, I plan to pursue a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and eventually a Master’s of Science in Nursing.

I am optimistic that these degree programs will open up rewarding employment opportunities, prepare me for a specialized career path, and offer networking opportunities. 

Regarding my professional endeavors, I am currently a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Seattle Honor Foundation. Being a member of these organizations has enabled me to develop professional networking opportunities, college tuition scholarships, and professional recognition.  

Regarding my personal life, I am an active participant in my churchSinging in the church choir has helped to fulfill me spirituallyI have been able to serve humanity by assisting people to actualize their spiritual goals. 

I am also a mother of two little kids. Being a mother I have been able to acquire and develop qualities that I did not have before. I am more caring, patient, responsible, and loving. As a parent, it has enhanced my love for my own parents and has taught me to appreciate patience and sacrifice.  

Meet Our Student Parents and Program Alumnae

During It’s a Goodwin Lunch-in we introduced you to our student parents and caught up with parents who had been in our program. Here are their video highlights from the event…

Meet Shariffa

Meet Ruby

Meet April

Meet Lisa

Meet Robyn

 

 

Ariana

A soon-to-be graduate of Edmonds College, Ariana is receiving a full scholarship to attend Brown University in the fall, where she will receive her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. Ariana was also accepted to Seattle University, University of Washington’s Seattle and Bothell campuses, and Columbia University. Ariana was honored with Edmonds College’s Women’s Achievement Award and the Outstanding Mathematics Major Award for 2020.

What has your road to college looked like?

Straight out of high school at 18 years old, I was living on my own and working a full-time job. Despite these circumstances, I enrolled in community college and began my very short first college experience. I managed through my first quarter, but when winter quarter came, working, taking classes and trying to find stability in my personal life became too much for me to balance and I dropped out.

The next eight years were spent moving away from my hometown, having my two babies and getting married. With two babies’ futures to think about, in 2018 I started considering going back to school to get a degree. It was a daunting goal, and I knew that if I started taking classes, I had to finish this time around. After touring the campus, meeting with advisors and making a course plan, I knew I was ready to try again. In November 2018, I took the English and mathematics placement exams, and on January 2, 2019, I officially restarted my education journey at Edmonds College.
Read more.

Raymond

We met Raymond about 24 hours after his daughter was born. He had just come from the hospital for his initial meeting with us. He applied to our Family Connections Program months earlier, knowing that he and his wife, Althea, needed childcare if they were to keep working toward their degrees.

We said, “let’s reschedule”, but his response was, “this meeting can’t wait.”

Raymond had some time before he needed to be back home with his new little family.  So we met with him and he was accepted into the Family Connections Program on the spot. He and his wife were laser-focused on earning their college degrees. The childcare assistance would help them stay the course.

Like many of our students, the road to college is not linear. Twists and turns, blockades and barriers make getting ahead even more challenging.

Raymond remembers his first, life-changing action after he was released from prison.

Read more.

Congratulations to our Graduates!

We are immensely proud of these 30 scholars who, despite increased challenges due to COVID-19, have made it to graduation day! Whether they’re continuing on to earn their next degree, or jumping into a new career, we know exciting things are in store.

Thank you to all who donated and supported Goodwin Connections this year.

Click on the video below to hear from, Tara, one of this year’s graduates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A message to our Student Parents

To our Student Parents,

We want to acknowledge that these are incredibly hard times for many of you, especially our Black families. Like us, you are probably feeling sadness, anger, and frustration about the death of George Floyd, we are grieving with you and with our nation.

We wanted to let you know that we understand the challenges you face every day go far beyond the need for childcare, and to assure you that we see you, we support you, and we stand with you. Hatred and bigotry have no place in the Goodwin Connections Family or in the world.

Over the years, we have adapted to meet the changing needs of our families. Most recently, we’ve supported you through COVID-19 and will continue to do so. Now is another one of those times. We want to hear how we can help amplify you and your voices within our program and our shared community. Institutionalized racism hurts us all and we will not just be a passive supporter in the fight against it, but rather actively working against it.

We stand with our Black families. We are listening, we are learning, and we are ready to help make sustainable and meaningful change.

As always, please reach out if you need anything from us. We are here for you.

The Goodwin Connections Family

Good news to report!

Dear Friends of Goodwin Connections,
We are so overwhelmed by your caring hearts!
Not only did you surpass the GiveBIG goal, but you allowed us to meet our match. Your $12,844 in online and mailed in gifts plus the $10,000 match means that this has been the most successful GiveBIG ever for our families.
Like so much of what we do, we do together. GiveBIG was a true team effort. Thank you, thank you, to our board members, committee members, long-time supporters, and new supporters.
We are so amazed by your generosity and commitment to keeping our families safe, healthy, and connected to school through this spring, summer, and into the new school year.
We look forward to updating you with a lot of good news next month, as many students will be celebrating their college graduation.
Take care,
Maggie Skinner
Executive Director

P.S. Below is a video of thanks from Rachelle, a student from Seattle Central College, who will be graduating with her Bachelor’s Degree in Health this spring.

Tara

We met Tara just before her little one was born. A few weeks later, she welcomed her daughter into the world, and we welcomed Tara into our Family Connections Program. She started in the dental assistant program at Clover Park Technical College soon after.

Today, Tara has a dental assistant job waiting for her after graduation this spring, and she will eventually begin classes towards her ultimate goal of becoming a dental hygienist.

There is a shortage of dental assistants and hygienists in Washington state. And, once Tara graduates, she will help fill the need for trained dental technicians in our region.
Read more.