BALTIMORE — In under-served communities, securing a good job has always been a challenge and when you add a global pandemic in the mix, it becomes an even bigger hurdle to clear.
But in their 25th year, the Caroline Center in Baltimore is bridging that gap for women through training, support, and sisterhood.
The classroom in the Caroline Center is where transformation happens.
Though it's virtual, its where so many women across Baltimore get their spark.
"I always knew deep down inside I wanted to be a nurse," said Rhinenena Quamina.
She felt like she had no path to her true passion which was caring for people but spent years working at a call center helping patients over the phone knowing there was more she could do.
Her responsibilities as a young parent, and lack of resources kept her far away from doing it; but, she took a leap of faith, applied and enrolled into the nursing program at the Caroline Center.
"It was very intense but very needed. It just blessed my whole entire life," she shared.
Now she's a clinical nursing intern months away from graduation already getting experience in the field where she's needed, something that years ago was far fetched.
"I've been on the front lines of the COVID patients, the patients that are struggling to breathe, the gowning, the masking, the fear, the anxiety, the stress of can I hold my patients hand when they need me," said Quamina.
Rhinenena is one of nearly 65 women with similar stories who completed the program amid the pandemic and landed a jobs as healthcare worker.
That's something that Lynn Selby the Caroline Center's executive director is proud of.
"It's almost like it's flipping the light off and on. You can see that if they trust the process and work the process and partnership because they've got to do the work, you can see the change," Selby told WMAR.
That process consists of a 15-week program where students get a holistic-based education that include stress and time management courses.
The Center welcomes women across Baltimore regardless of any issues ranging from a lack of transportation and childcare, to blemishes in their background and gives them a tuition free opportunity to take a new path into healthcare.
"This is a runway and we're just talking about helping them take off to the next thing," she explained.
Several students have gone on just like Rhinenena who now work in local hospitals assisting with COVID patients and administering vaccines, helping their own community heal from COVID.
Selby extends an open invitation to women in Baltimore who'd like to do the same.
"We are a community that embraces women, meets them where they are, and helps them become their best selves for themselves and their families," Selby said.
"It was really just where I needed to be...It was where I needed to be. And I don't think I would be who I am without the Lord through God got me here and re-birthed a new me," Quamina shared.
For more information about the nonprofit organization and resources they offer, click here.