LCC student spotlight: Chelsea Raynor
Chelsea Raynor of Kinston wasn’t sure what she wanted to do in life, but she knew she had to make a change. She came to Lenoir Community College in September 2017 and enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Youth Program when she was 16 years old. A single mom of a two-month old son, Chelsea said she quit high school as a freshman because she experienced complications in the first half of her pregnancy.
“She was shy and lacked self confidence,” LCC WIOA Youth Advisor Tracey Price recalled. “She began working on her High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) and was making good progress in her studies. After she was no longer basic skills deficient, and had completed HRD classes on employability skills, she was placed in a paid work experience in a medical office.”
Chelsea was working hard at school and her work experience job but had difficulty maintaining a stable place to live. She had to move three times while working on her HSED and had to stop the work experience and coming to classes because one move took her out of the county. Price said she faced many challenges. “She didn’t have a driver’s license or transportation. Chelsea kept in contact with me during this time and said she wanted to remain in the program and was studying online when she could so she wouldn’t lose all the ground she had gained working on her HSED.”
While Chelsea has faced difficult personal situations and has encountered many challenges while being in the program, she has maintained a positive and most pleasant attitude, Price said.
“I am determined not to give up because of my love and dedication to my son,” Chelsea said. “My son is my best motivation, always inspiring me to do better so he can have better. I am committed to providing him a safe loving secure environment to grow up in.”
After a short absence from the Transitional and Career Studies Program, she came back to HSE classes, and passed five HiSet tests to earn her High School Equivalency Diploma.
“I am so proud of her,” Price said. “She had test anxiety, but pushed through and was successful. She wanted to share her story and struggles to encourage others that may face the same to keep moving forward.”
Chelsea began working at Spring Arbor Assisted Living in Kinston in November 2018. “She and I wanted to be sure that nursing was the career pathway she wanted to pursue and there is no better way of doing that than first hand experience on the job,” Price said. “Chelsea performed well at the worksite and according to her supervisors she was a natural at caring for others and they reported all the residence there loved her and would ask for her specifically if they needed something.”
She was offered a permanent position when the work experience ended and was hired immediately. She enrolled in Nurse Assistant I (NAI) class in April 2019 and plans to continue her education following the established career pathway.
Chelsea has gain confidence and self-esteem since she enrolled in the Youth program and began setting and reaching her goals. “I could not have made it this far without this program. I am so grateful for the financial assistance, also the motivation and encouragement Ms. Tracey has given me,” she said. “I could message her anytime and she would always be there for me. I tell my friends and family about this program because it has changed my life.”