Nearly every afternoon, Amando Alvarado is working toward his future and loving every moment of it. Rather than spend time on campus, he has earned the right to be employed while at Woodward Academy. He works with the Alzheimer’s unit at Madrid Home, a local assisted living environment for the elderly. This is not just any job, it was one that will help prepare him for the future.
Amando earned his Hi-SET high school equivalent in the summer of 2016. Shortly after that, he applied for an opening at the Madrid Home and was one of two students who started working there. It was an entry level position where he worked as an assistant to the staff there; passing out snacks, playing games, and just “keeping them busy.” This part of the job was not overly rewarding, but Amando found that he enjoyed the environment and helping those who lived there. He started asking questions of how he could get more involved, and eventually talked with the personnel at the administrative office who agreed to help him get his CNA to become a certified nursing assistant. Because of the work that he was doing, the Madrid Home agreed to pay for the schooling. Emily York, a nurse at Woodward Academy, noted that this is a mandatory first step to becoming a full time nurse. She helped him study for his tests and offered some helpful tips such as word associations to look for. After three weeks of classes, Amando earned his CNA from Signature Health Care in Waukee, Iowa.
Once Amando earned his CNA, more responsibility moved his way at the Madrid Home. He worked with many of the patrons one-on-one, and truly got to know them even when that notion was not reciprocated. Working with Alzheimer patients can be challenging, but Amando’s immensely compassionate heart and amazing patience makes him the perfect candidate for nursing. “I really enjoy it. It is almost like here [at Woodward Academy], you are teaching them everything over again. Sometimes they don’t always cooperate, or always know who you are, but they recognize you and I feel good about that.”
Amando’s experience at the Madrid Home has solidified his desire to continue to pursue nursing as a profession. The Madrid Home has offered Amando a $1,000 a semester scholarship to continue his education at the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC). What Amando does matters, and he is making a difference in many people’s lives.
Amando is a great example of taking an opportunity and making it his own. He was given the chance to apply for this job, and once he was accepted and experienced what it takes to work in this field, his dreams unfolded in front of him. He was not simply content with this current, entry level role, and took the initiative to change his situation for the better. He worked hard at his job, did what was asked and expected of him, he never complained, and formed a positive relationship with his supervisor. Once he established that he was a trustworthy and honest worker, he earned the opportunity to further his career and become a Certified Nursing Assistant.GO KNIGHTS!