Choosing to THRIVE

“I was introduced to the THRIVE program through United Way. I was very excited. I thought to myself, ‘This is my second chance at nursing.’”

Christine Taylor, THRIVE Participant

When most of us hear the word “thrive,” we think of how it means to flourish or prosper. For Christine Taylor, however, to thrive means getting a second chance. That’s because when Christine joined VOA Texas’ THRIVE program, she found the way to make a long-ago dream come true: being involved in nursing.

Christine, a single mom of a 9-year-old son living with autism, was introduced to THRIVE through the United Way of Greater Houston (The Woodlands). The program is part of a collaboration UW has with some 20 nonprofit agencies, including Volunteers of America. 

Christine was already a scholarship recipient of United Way, through which she was able to earn an associate degree in business administration from Lonestar College. But once she learned about programs available through THRIVE, she saw her second chance.

“When Mrs. Aurbandy Jackson explained to me the different nursing classes offered through this program, I was very excited. I thought to myself, “This is my second chance at nursing.” The program that caught her attention was medical billing and coding, a program that Christine saw as a different type of nursing course. “This was the class for me,” she said. She discovered the class was tougher than she thought, especially since she was also taking online courses from Sam Houston State University.

“There were many times I wanted to quit,” she said. “But I didn’t quit. I had a lot of support and I continued to pray and not let my faith go astray.” In the end, Christine not only earned a certification in medical billing and coding, she also passed the additional courses she was taking at SHSU.

Christine was once a woman who, after her son’s diagnosis with autism, put her dreams—and her education—on hold for the sake of her family. But life’s challenges did not have the final say. “I thank God everyday for the United Way of Greater Houston and the THRIVE program as well,” she said. “If I do have the opportunity, I would love to take another course from the THRIVE program. A lot of people don’t think having an education is ‘cool.’ But I believe with God on your side all things are possible.”