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Peace is a confident, warm, positive wife and mother. She grew up in Nigeria in West Africa and lived there with her husband until she was 27. Two years ago, the couple decided to emigrate to the United States.

“In Africa, it was very hard,” Peace said with a long, deliberate pause. “We hoped for better careers and a better life.”

The family made their home in Brooklyn Park and had a baby, who is now 14 months old. Peace’s husband worked while she stayed home with her son. However, living off one income was stressful, and Peace needed to get a job. However, she struggled to find a position aligned with her interests that paid a living wage.

A friend of Peace’s was studying to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) with the assistance of Greater Twin Cities United Way partner CAPI. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping more than 4,000 immigrants and refugees each year. United Way not only funds CAPI’s work in economic empowerment, but also food security for individuals and families who need holistic support.

“When my friend told me about the nursing program I thought, I’ve always been interested in healthcare,” Peace said. “When I was young, my grandma broke her leg and I was the one who took care of her. I realized I have a passion for helping people.”

In the Fall of 2018, Peace enrolled in CAPI’s nursing assistant training.

“The people leading the program were very welcoming- I felt supported,” she said. “I studied hard and became one of the best students in class. I was so proud of myself.”

Peace successfully completed the two-month medical and caregiving training and passed the state exam. Through CAPI’s relationship with North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, she got her first job as a nursing assistant.

“When I arrived in Minnesota, I wasn’t working,” Peace said. “Without this program made possible by CAPI and United Way, I wouldn’t have been able to get a healthcare job because I didn’t have any experience. Because of the training, I was able to start a career where I can help people and provide for my family.”

Peace is capable, confident, and determined, with big goals for her future- she wants to become a licensed practical nurse, then a registered nurse, then get her bachelor of science degree in nursing.

“I would tell others to work hard and go after their dreams,” she said. “It all starts with taking that first step.”

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