Two years ago, Yuzellie Garcia decided to return to school to become the person she needed when she was a child.
I graduated in 2012 and spent a few years not knowing what I wanted to do,” said Ms. Garcia.
But when it finally came time to decide what to do, Ms. Garcia sought purpose and meaning from her childhood experiences. Her upbringing wasn’t easy. She grew up in a single parent household with three siblings. Her mom worked three jobs and struggled to make ends meet. She also experienced sexual and emotional abuse.
I’m studying what I’m studying because of the sexual and emotional abuse I endured. Things like being locked in a dark closet all day and growing up with shame, self-blame and guilt. Thinking it was my fault, and not having anyone there to show me that what was going on wasn’t OK, and it wasn’t my fault,” Ms. Garcia said.
She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice; she will be attending Florida State University this summer to study criminology and criminal justice and hopes to use her education to work in the human trafficking field. Her journey has led her to find a very clear purpose — to help children who are struggling with abuse. Children in low-income homes, who may be at risk. Children who may need a mentor like herself.
Ms. Garcia is on the path to fulfilling her goal thanks to the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation Earn to Learn FL Program. Earn to Learn FL helps low-to-moderate income students earn a higher education with little or no student debt. It’s a simple formula that combines mandatory student savings with financial aid, required financial literacy training and success coaching. Through the program, Ms. Garcia has been able to secure $9,000 to fund her education. She has saved $1,000 of her funds and received an $8,000 match supported by the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation and local partners like the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
“The Earn to Learn experience has been amazing; it’s so easy. The application was very fast. The lengthiest thing was the financial literacy course, but that was helpful. It wasn’t something that you would dread to do. The Women’s Foundation worked with me and my circumstances,” said Ms. Garcia.
For students like Ms. Garcia, education is much more than a simple degree. It’s a way to serve and fulfill their purpose. To pay it forward so that future generations have the opportunity to thrive.
June 21, 2018 is the longest day of the year and the day set aside by the Alzheimer’s Association to show love for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. The truth is, every day can be the longest day for women who carry the responsibility of lovingly caring for a person with any type of disability.
Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias demand intense caregiving and women shoulder a particularly heavy burden. The care they provide can be more physically and emotionally demanding and more time-consuming, and it takes a heavier toll on their work and family life. Women, as caregivers, often do not get the help and support they need to provide the years (even decades) of care required for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She is drained emotionally, physically and financially.
One fact in particular jumped off the page as I read the recently released Status of Women in Florida by County: Health & Well-Being report. Did you know more than one in five Florida women aged 65 and older (21.7 percent) reside with a person with a disability? This is very personal to me since I’m 67 years old and know first-hand how women cope when Alzheimer’s, as only one example of a disability, knocks on the door to visit and never leaves. I believe the percentage of 21.7 is much higher since most women do not check the little box on a survey that asks, “Are you over age 65 and residing with a person with a disability?” I never thought to check that box.
And yet, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the economic impact of dementia caregiving across the nation is huge, and particularly in Florida which is only behind California and Texas in terms of numbers of caregivers, hours of unpaid care and the value of that care. In 2017, there were approximately 1,121,000 dementia caregivers in Florida, who provided more than 1.25 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $16 billion. The numbers are staggering, and the burden in our state falls mostly on women.
The Status of Women in Florida Report underscored other disturbing health challenges, including the rate of diabetes, an increase in suicide, and the widespread violence in Florida against women, but the plight of Florida women who are caregivers hit a personal chord with me.
Several policies recommended by the Report would go a long way to provide much-needed relief to the many women in Florida living with a person who has one or more disabilities. They include:
There is no simple or single solution, but these policies would go a long way to support caregiving women in Florida. Every day is our longest day.
Go to https://earntolearnfl.org/research/ to view the complete report for all key findings and recommended solutions.
Respectfully submitted by:
Brenda Tate, CEO
Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation
What happens when you hear the word networking? If you're struggling with networking and finding the right customers and clients this episode is for you! Use these three strategies to get over your networking fears!
Have you been thinking about starting a business, but maybe you’re saying to yourself?
“There’s too much competition out there, I don’t know how I would measure up.”
Business Coach, Darcy Eikenberg will dispel the three most common myths stopping hopeful entrepreneurs from bringing their ideas to life.
How about you? How do you get past all the myths that are out there about competition? Let us know in the comments below
Today we’ll discuss the three things that get in the way of starting, growing, and succeding, in business. Those three things are fear, worry, and stress. Below are some tips on how to manage these emotions.
3. Turn your fear into excitement (turn your fear into something positive instead of focusing on the negative)
When you feel the fear overwhelming you before an event, before a phone call, etc., take a deep breath and focus on the positive in the current situation to turn your fear into excitement. If you’re excited about what you do, that will help get over the stress and worry and your fear will turn into confidence. People can feel that!
Remember that every time you start something new or do something that is out of your normal everyday routine, you are going to experience some level of fear, worry, and stress. That is the ancient part of your brain trying to keep you safe to continue doing the things that you’re already comfortable doing.