Meet La’Zarria

My name is La’Zarria and I’m in my first year at Metropolitan Community College. I’m studying nursing because I’m passionate about helping people. I have to believe that my passion developed after taking care of my grandmother for 12 years. That caretaking experience made me realize that I want to have a positive impact on someone’s life and let them know that they’re not alone.

I initially joined Avenue Scholars because the program aligned with my career goals, and the support system that I knew the program could provide would help me overcome possible barriers that might come up in my life. 

My long-term goal is to become a registered nurse, and Avenue Scholars is supporting me in achieving that goal by working with me to gain healthcare-related work experience, and relieve the burden of not knowing how I’ll pay for college by providing me with a grant. Along the way, I’ve also learned how to budget, and was able to take some college classes while I was still in high school, which gave me a headstart when I started college.

My Career Coach’s name is Canei Rodriquez. Coach Canei is always checking in, inspiring, and motivating me to keep going. She’s been instrumental in helping me achieve my long and short-term goals.

Coaching La’Zarria

Canei Rodriquez

Postsecondary Career Coach

I officially met La’Zarria at Benson High School on one of our school visits where we inform students about the program, talk about what students can expect while they’re in high school, and review the next steps for when they graduate. I’ve been working with her now for almost a year. We had our first meeting last May or June after she graduated from high school, and she’s doing great things.

La’Zarria came into our program and was already on top of her game. She had college credits because of Avenue Scholars’ Senior Academy program, and she knew what career pathway she wanted to pursue.

She’s always been very quiet, but I’ve already witnessed her come out of her shell.

La’Zarria’s grandmother passed away last year, and seeing La’Zarria overcome that loss while still achieving a high GPA for the winter quarter made me proud.

I’m in awe of her hard work. We communicate all the time, even just in passing on campus. Usually, she’s in the class, quiet in the corner, getting her work done because she’s extremely driven and focused. Her grit and her determination to come out on top is a beautiful sight to see.

As a Career Coach, you wear many hats. I don’t have to coach La’Zarria on many things, I’m more of her cheerleader because she’s such a self-starter. She’s working at a daycare right now and is loving that experience. La’Zarria has received her CNA certification through Avenue Scholars programming and is currently working with a younger population. We’ve talked about her wanting to be a pediatric nurse, so we thought it would be a great idea to get that experience working with children now.

La’Zarria might transition into a CNA position later this year. She’s doing a wonderful job right now and the kids she works with really enjoy her in the classroom, so we want to keep that connection strong. When she’s ready, I’ll work with her to find some CNA positions that fit her schedule.

The Role and Responsibility of a Career Coach

When I say that a Career Coach wears many hats, what I mean is that our role looks different from day to day. There’s never one solution that’s going to fit all the students you’re working with. We’re just trying to bridge the gap to help our students reach their career goals, overcome obstacles, and help them cultivate the best life skills. Those skills could be balancing a checkbook or even budgeting to find independent housing. I’ve also worked with students to get their first checking account, which helps them establish credit. Those things sometimes aren’t mentioned as a part of the job of a Career Coach. I love that the role and responsibilities will vary from student to student.

Avenue Scholars’ Postsecondary Career Coaches stand side-by-side with our students to help them navigate life, work, and school. Even when students become alumni of the program, we stay connected to them because of the strong bond that we’ve built throughout the years.

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