My daughter (also Hispanic, adopted as a teenager by me) is in a similar situation, Ellie. She has worked 7 years at a grocery store. Makes almost $12 an hour and has some not-too-shabby benefits, but no future there. She wants to be a nurse. Competition is fierce to be admitted to the local nursing college. Her high school grades are not the best, mostly due to the language barrier she originally, and still sometimes, faces. She was told by the school to get a certified nursing assistant certificate and work as a CNA to earn credits to help her get into nursing school. Financial assistance is not available for the CNA program. Paying for the program plus the multitude of shots she needed more than wiped out her savings account, forcing her to add some of the costs to her already significant credit card debt. Now she is trying to save money to pay the state exam fee to get her certificate so she can get a CNA job making almost $2 an hour less than she makes now! The nursing college also said she needs volunteer hours and recommended at least 2 a week. So, she has to work for a little more than minimum wage at a demanding job, volunteer at least 2 hours a week and take the pre-req classes she needs before starting nursing school, all while raising two children whose father, a chiropractor, pays no child support because he doesn’t believe in personal responsibility or government or the court system, the same system that doesn’t seem capable of making him pay, the same system in which she has spent countless hours trying to make him pay. If it weren’t for me, she and her children would be homeless. The low wages paid to the lower rung workers in the medical field are outrageous. People like you have a HUGE responsibility, people’s lives in your hands. You deserve more. Best of luck to you, Ellie. The system is fucked up and dedicated, hard-working people like you and my daughter are devalued as employees and people. You are worthy of more.

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