Graduating from the 9th grade at the top of her class last year put Marcela* closer to realizing her dream of becoming a nurse. In Guatemala, students graduate from high school in 9th grade and then enroll in specific two-year trade school programs before graduating and entering university. But her dreams ran into a slush. The university ruled that the 17-year-old Marcela was “too young” to enroll in a nursing program and that she would have to wait till she turned 18. She was discouraged.

Seeing her discouragement put our Kids Alive Guatemala team in overdrive as they scrambled to find an alternate program so Marcela wouldn’t lose an academic year. They came up with a solution. They developed an on-site nursing internship for Marcela with Kids Alive Guatemala staff nurse, Catie. “We felt that giving her some hands-on experience prior to nursing school would better prepare her,” said Catie. “It has been a God-send for me to have an extra set of hands to help with weighing babies, filing medical records, and doing vision and hearing screens on all of the girls. I’ve had so much fun seeing her excitement about learning new things.”

The current pandemic’s increased demand in all areas of preventive health care has made Marcela‘s assistance to Catie even more significant. She has assumed the responsibility for delivering vitamins to house moms, sanitizing the healthcare facility, and running health-related errands for Catie, freeing up her time to handle the larger health issues. Because Marcela is still a minor and a resident of Oasis, she’s restricted from doing many of the basic nursing assignments independently; however, under Catie’s watchful eye, she is enjoying her work nursing internship.

Recently, Catie successfully secured all the supplies needed to draw blood samples from a local lab in town that Kids Alive uses regularly. Catie not only taught Marcela how to draw blood but also volunteered to be her first “patient” to get her blood drawn. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity to be part of this journey for Marcela. I can’t wait to see how God uses her nursing career to positively impact lives,” said Catie.

*Name changed to protect identity.