“SAY was saving me years of schooling for the same education so I could get started in the field of my career.”

“SAY was saving me years of schooling for the same education so I could get started in the field of my career.”

Dioselina grew up learning to hope, dream and love, despite not knowing if there would be food on the table each night.

“My parents always told me and my brother that without education, we would continue to live in poverty. We both worked hard to get straight A’s, and my career goal has always been to become a nurse.”

Dio’s determination was strong to create a better life for her son, but she couldn’t afford to invest the time and money needed to create a promising future.

That’s where SAY stepped in.

“I was taking classes at the Santa Rosa Junior College, but it was going to take me three to five years to get through the pre-requisites and coursework. I didn’t know how I could support myself and my son while working toward my dream job.”

SAY had been working with the Petaluma Adult School to bring a six-month Medical Assistant program to the SAY Finley Dream Center campus.

“I was so excited. SAY was saving me years of schooling for the same education so I could get started in the field of my career.”

SAY awarded Dio a partial scholarship for the class, making her dream possible.

Career opportunities and support at every stage

dio-school-01Prior to completing the Medical Assistant program, Dio first came to us in the summer of 2014. She had just graduated from Elsie Allen High School, located in one of our region’s poorest communities, and she was ready to work.

“I knew someone wouldn’t stroll into my neighborhood looking to offer me a job.”

Through our Career Services Program, she received an internship at the Boys & Girls Club, working with first graders, which turned into a full-time position. She stayed with the Boys & Girls Club for six months until she devoted her days to a full time class load at the Santa Rosa Junior College.

Dio also was assigned a case manager, who proved to be a true advocate to help Dio manage her many responsibilities.

“My case manager is so kind. If I don’t have food, Victoria helps me figure out how I can get to the food bank. She is always looking for and creating opportunities for me to succeed, support myself and take care of my family.”

Despite being busy passionately pursuing her career, working toward financial sustainability and caring for her son, Dio also volunteers at SAY events.

“I saw others volunteer and I wanted to be like that. I’ve received so much support. I want to return that support however I can.”

Creating a New Future


When Dio talks about Ethan, her two-year-old son, her smile is so big that it barely fits in the room. “I can’t imagine being without my son. I think he is why I fight so hard for my goals. I grew up with very loving and positive parents, but I didn’t have the life I wanted.”

With our support, Dio is now awaiting her Medical Assistant externship placement, well on her way to her dream of being a nurse.

“I had big dreams for my career, but the doors were closed. I needed money for those dreams. I knew I wanted to go to school. I want to see Ethan grow. SAY gave me the key to open that door and actively pursue my goals.”