Carissa Success Story

Carissa’s Story

When asked what her goals are after graduating with her Associate’s degree in Nursing, Carissa replied, “I want to be financially stable and be more established. I want to stop working 2 jobs and have more time with my daughter.” While Carissa knows that receiving her degree will help her achieve her goals, it has not been an easy road.

Her first semester at Seminole State College was great. However, there was a change to her financial aid during her second semester that meant she could no longer afford her textbooks.

Unfortunately, textbooks weren’t the only thing that would become a barrier to Carissa getting her diploma. She lost her secondary source of income after Hurricane Irma. After that, her car was repossessed but she was able to buy a used car with her tax refund. While things were tight, it was manageable…until she got into a car accident.

The cost of repairs were worth more than the vehicle, so Carissa decided to rent a vehicle to get around. To top it all off, she needed to find a new place to live for her and her infant daughter. During all this, she was still pursuing her degree and it was her college advisor her recommended she contact Destination Graduation.      

Destination Graduation is a unique partnership between Heart of Florida United Way, Seminole State College and SunTrust Foundation. The program assists students through an on-campus case manager to provide Emergency Financial Assistance in the hopes of reducing the number of students who leave for non-academic reasons. But it’s not just financial assistance.

Jackie, the Destination Graduation navigator, offered something Carissa desperately needed: a listening ear. Jackie was able to help Carissa sort through her compounding life crisis and help her get back on her feet. Destination Graduation paid the first month of rent so Carissa could find an affordable place to live and ensure her grant covered the costs of textbooks.

With the support of Jackie and Destination Graduation, Carissa is now back on track and looking forward to the day she receives her diploma and can proudly say she achieved her dream.

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