Despite the gauntlet of challenges that are emblematic of life in Virginia’s Rural Horseshoe, the barriers to a post-secondary education are slowly coming down. Take Brooke Vaughn for instance. The 21-year old Martinsville native graduated from Patrick Henry Community College in 2014 and is now working as a certified nurse aide. Vaughn is also the first in her family to attend and graduate from college. She says her career coach, Susan Wimbish, deserves a lot of the credit.
“She provided us with accurate information to help boost our confidence. She was always so nice and helpful. She made sure to stay in touch with her students and follow up with them!”
Despite the lingering effects of the recession which decimated Martinsville’s economy and left it with one of the highest unemployment levels in the state, Vaughn says she’s proud to have grown up here. She describes a town that is very Mayberry-esque; a place where everyone knows everybody and they care about one another.
“There’s not much to do in Martinsville for recreation, so people frequently travel to bigger cities like Roanoke. The difference in going to bigger cities is people don’t acknowledge you like they do here in Martinsville. Everyone is friendly here and will do what they can to help you.”
Vaughn says she’s looking forward to the day when she becomes a registered nurse.
“My long term goal is to become a case manager. That includes establishing a foundation for the patients who enter the hospital until their discharge.”
Click here to learn more about Virginia’s Rural Horseshoe Initiative.
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