Injuries sustained in an accident in 2011 helped change LaTonya Green’s life.
She sustained a broken pelvis and internal injuries after being run over three times by an SUV. “I was in the hospital for two months and in a wheelchair for nine months after that,” Green recalls. “The doctors weren’t sure if I would ever be able to walk normally again. I was told I wouldn’t be able to have any more children.
“It was a real eye-opener. I took it as a sign that I needed to get myself together. I promised that if I was able to get out of that chair and be healed, I would get my life together. I’m still doing it.”
Now able to walk normally, Green is pursing training toward becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) through North Central State College.
“I’ve always been interested in the medical field, but the accident and my recovery really helped steer me toward becoming a nurse,” she said. “I gained a lot of appreciation for the nursing field when I was in the hospital and saw how they cared for me and the other patients.”
In foster care as a child, the 25-year-old Mansfield resident admits to making a few wrong turns in life.
“I took a few steps in the wrong direction. I used drugs. I ran away from foster care and was in the detention center for a while,” Green said. “But I don’t look at the past as bad. I look at it as lessons learned and feel blessed to be where I am today.”
Green has kept her promise to change her life. She earned her GED in December 2012 and began classes at NC State in January 2013, and has posted a 3.6 GPA.
“Math has been my favorite subject so far,” she said. “Growing up, I was not good at math. When I went back for my GED, math was challenging. But I found that if asked questions, the instructors would take time to explain things in a way that I could learn. It feels good to know that I can do math now.”
In addition to her studies, Green also has gained practical experience in the medical field through working as a State Tested Nursing Assistant. “I do home health, helping clients with shopping, cleaning, dressing and bathing. I work seven days a week,” she said.
She also keeps busy with her two children – a 9-year-old daughter and 17-month-old son. She receives help with child care from her fiancé, the father of her “miracle” son.
She is the recipient of a Russell and Mary Gimbel Foundation Scholarship through the NC State Foundation. “The scholarship has been very helpful. I am very grateful to those who helped provide it,” Green said.
After obtaining her LPN, Green hopes to continue her studies in NC State’s Registered Nursing program.
Green has advice for those who might be considering returning to college: “Always believe in yourself. Think positive. Know you can accomplish what you set your mind to. Don’t let yesterday’s mistakes keep you from tomorrow’s dreams.”