“I feel MEND Opened the Door to my Future”



Maria De La Torre always knew she would work in the medical field.  She received her Medical Assistant diploma seven years ago and, while keen to start work in her chosen profession, had to stay home and raise her family.

She has three young children and says when she finally felt ready to get back into the workforce found that the diploma was not enough.

“I couldn’t get a job because I had no experience and I would ask, ‘How can I get experience if no one will give me a job?’ ”

Last year she signed up for a job-training program at MEND’s Medical Clinic and gained valuable work experience helping with intake, assisting doctors and drawing blood for lab work.

Currently 84 people are participating in MEND’s job training program that provides valuable skills for entering the workforce.

“Everyone at MEND was wonderful to me and so helpful,” says Maria.  “MEND has opened doors for me.”

The most important door that opened, however, was in January this year when a doctor’s office had an opening for a phlebotomist.

One of the MEND volunteer doctors with whom Maria was working gave her a referral and she now has a full-time job that she loves.

“All I needed,” says Maria, “was the chance to work.  And MEND gave me that chance.  I feel MEND opened the door to my future.”

Maria says her future includes going to nursing school.

“I love my work and people see that and are encouraging me to become a nurse.  I see now that I can do it and I will.”

By Volunteer Ellen Georgiou