It often takes leaving your comfort zone to find what you are truly capable of doing. Denise Riley has been doing just that for more than a decade.
Denise was enrolled in a Day Program in New York City in 2010 when she learned that she was accepted into Living Resources’ College Experience Program. Like most college freshmen, she arrived on the campus of the College of Saint Rose with a combination of excitement, fear, and doubt. Twelve years later, she knows it was the best move she could have made. Denise said, “My life has changed; I am now living a life I thought I could never have.”
Not only did she learn the skills to successfully live on her own such as cooking, doing laundry, cleaning her apartment, and managing her time, she embarked on an impressive career trajectory, most recently earning her certification as Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
Since Denise has always had a passion for working with senior citizens, her job coach suggested that she try a position at the Teresian House Center for the Elderly in Albany, NY. She started working in the main kitchen, but, as she said, “I was built to do more.” Her positive outlook and strong work ethic helped propel her to a variety of positions in the dietary department before she was told of a training program to become a Temporary Nursing Aide (TNA.) After achieving the certification on her first attempt, she transferred from the dietary department to nursing and put a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license in her sights.
This journey proved more difficult but she had the support of staff from both the Teresian House and Living Resources. She said, “It wasn’t easy. I made sacrifices and took initiative – I was determined to make it happen. When the test was over I thought, ‘No matter how I did, I know did my best.” When she learned she passed, she cried happy tears.
Through it all, Living Resources has been at her side. She said, “My Living Resources staff are quite helpful, they won’t let me get lost. If my mom was alive today, she would be happy.”
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