Participant Success Story: One Woman's Grit
Antonia R. Mendez-Alvarado was born in Mexico in 1996; she came to the USA at the age of six years old. Their family settled in Bridgeton, NJ, where she remained until she completed high school.
Initially, Antonia was a participant at PathStone under the HYRE ME II program. She stood out from the rest because she was determined to rise above her meager circumstances.
Antonia had to use unpredictable public transportation and a free service to go from one town to the next for her assigned jobs. Even with these challenges, she would always follow through on her volunteer work experience, arriving at the assigned location 10-15 minutes early every time.
After completing the HYRE ME II program, Antonia was referred to PathStone’s National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP), which assists eligible farmworkers and their dependents in reaching self-sufficiency through successful job placement. Antonia qualified through her mother’s farmworker history, so she became a participant of the program and completed all of her assessments for PathStone. Clearly, Antonia knew what she wanted, and she sought out a way to make it happen. She attended an information session about EMT work on her own. Then she applied and was accepted at Camden County College’s competitive VIRTUA hospital EMT program. NFJP funded her tuition, school uniforms, and equipment. Antonia had a small part-time job that helped pay for her cell phone and gas for her mother’s car. When her mother’s car broke down, she would carpool, and when that didn’t work out, she took the bus or contacted a family friend for help. Antonia was not deterred from completing her program.
Finally, Antonia passed her exams and completed the program with flying colors. So enthused with the prospect of working, Antonia followed a job lead and was quickly hired as an EMT with Exceptional Medical Transportation. PathStone then purchased her work uniforms, equipment, and paid for her National EMT Registry.
Antonia feels a sense of deep accomplishment, and she is the pride of her family, having been the first to graduate and enter a post-secondary educational program. Antonia had many hurdles to overcome growing up in a single parent home, but credits any success she has earned to the dedication and hard work of her mother, who sacrificed herself in arduous labor and long hours for the betterment of her children.