Former CFCA scholar finds future in social work
May 1, 2013
Nectania, former CFCA scholar, is now employed at CFCA.
Nectania's life changed in 1998 when she was 12 years old.
That was the day she visited the CFCA office in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and became a member of the CFCA sponsorship program.
"It was then when I started to be part of this family," Nectania said.
Nectania, now 26, was sponsored for five years and has fond memories of her sponsor, who encouraged her and helped her realize her potential.
"The [father figure] I needed to give me advice and words, I got from my sponsor, Kevin, through letters," Nectania said.
Nectania applied for and received a CFCA scholarship in 2003, which helped her continue with her education. She studied economics at the University of Nicaragua.
The CFCA Scholarship Program provides opportunities for sponsored and non-sponsored youth to pursue studies in secondary school, college and vocational training. Scholarships assist with costs such as tuition, books and transportation.
Many scholarship students graduate and either continue on with school or look for full-time work. Some find stable and sustaining jobs, though it's often difficult to find reliable work. Nectania was able to find a good job, and it was right where she started.
She started working with CFCA in Nicaragua.
A new opportunity
Scholarship students experience CFCA from both the giving and receiving ends. They receive benefits to help them with their schooling, and they also use their time and abilities to help others in their community.
In addition to pursuing their studies, students in CFCA’s scholarship program commit their time and talents by contributing service hours in their communities.
When Nectania was a scholarship student, she participated in home visits to the sponsored friends and their families. These visits broadened her experience in CFCA.
"Thanks to the social service I used to offer, I was able to live many experiences being closer to the families, getting inside their homes and lives and gaining their trust, and listening to their weaknesses and strengths," Nectania said.
Once their studies are complete, some CFCA scholars look for job opportunities where they can give back to others.
"I had recently completed college, and some job offers came to me and one of them was CFCA," Nectania said. "I did not have any doubts about taking this job because I thought of my life in CFCA."
It was easy for Nectania to adapt to her new role as a staff member because she was already familiar with CFCA's mission, values and the Hope for a Family sponsorship program.
Nectania's not alone in her continued commitment to CFCA. Bismark, an accountant, and Mayela, a social worker, are also former scholars in Nicaragua who found a career at CFCA.
CFCA scholar Carlos, second from left, and Nectania help sponsored
children compose Christmas cards for their sponsors.
"CFCA scholars who become staffers are in many cases best suited for positions in the field because they have grown up in the program," said Brenda Rush, project administrative director for CFCA international programs. "As scholars, they are aware of the policies and procedures of the CFCA program, because they also have to mentor the younger students. They are intrinsic leaders."
The ultimate accomplishment for most people is to fulfill one's dream. For Nectania and other CFCA scholarship students turned staffers, they are doing just that.
"I found myself identifying with the CFCA values that guide our organization," Nectania said about working with CFCA. "I have been embracing them day after day while working, holding onto our mission and vision, which leads us to be workers with a great spirit."