Childbirth is a momentous, emotional experience for any family. For Yeny Cardero, the birth of her daughter was also the inspiration for her future career. She was so impressed by the skill and demeanor of her labor and delivery nurses, she knew she needed to pursue an education in nursing.

“My calling is to help people feel better, to treat them with love, compassion and respect, and to make a difference and positive impact on people’s lives,” said Yeny.

Over the past two years, she has worked to complete the required prerequisites and this fall she will submit her application for the nursing program at Naugatuck Valley Community College.

As a nail technician, wife and mom to now 4-year-old Sarah, Yeny doesn’t have the time or financial resources to go to school full-time. Although it may take her longer than a traditional full-time student, Yeny is determined to reach her goal.

One major motivating factor for Yeny is the scholarship she’s received from the Connecticut Community Foundation.

“This scholarship is different than other financial aid. It’s not just based on financial need, I had to earn it through good academic performance,” said Yeny, who has a 4.0 GPA. “It is such a good feeling—it’s so rewarding to be chosen from all of the applicants to receive the scholarship.”

Yeny also draws strength from her daughter. “I want her to have a wider vision of her future. I want her to see how I achieved my education on my own. I want to be a role model to her.”

Her family is proud of her accomplishments. Her parents and her husband—who Yeny credits as a tremendous source of support—were so excited when Yeny was inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa Honors society.

Yeny is the first person in her family to go to college. Her parents went to technical school in Cuba, her mom is an accountant and her father is a mechanic. They lived in France for several years after leaving Cuba, and came to the United States in 2007. Living in different countries fueled Yeny’s love of languages. She now speaks five languages fluently, a skill that will no doubt serve her well as a nurse working with diverse populations.

Yeny plans to continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree when she completes her associate decgree. She speaks emphatically about her goals, and it’s clear that she has the tenacity and perseverance to get it done.

Her ultimate goal is to join the donors who supported her scholarship. “I am so grateful for their donations that made my scholarship and my dream possible. I want to be that for someone someday. I want to be like them.”