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Meet Balima R., a BronxWorks Participant

Balima R., a BronxWorks Participant
Balima R., a BronxWorks Participant

I always dreamed to be in the nursing field, that was a dream since I was little.”

Balima came to the U.S. in 2005, an immigrant from West Africa. Since she was little, she dreamed of becoming a registered nurse. To achieve her dreams, Balima enrolled in the BronxWorks EXCEL Program and is now working toward her GED. “Back in my country, I was going to school to be a doctor, but things got in the way and I had to come here,” Balima says.

When Balima first came to the U.S., she lived with an aunt and was enrolled in school but had to stop to find work. In 2021, Balima came to BronxWorks to enroll her sister in the GED/HSE prep program and she also ended up enrolling in the first 25+ cohort of the BronxWorks EXCEL program. Programs like this are important in preparing students for the GED exam, giving them practice and resources in math, reading, science, social studies, and writing so they have the highest chance of succeeding and passing.

Now a mother of three kids and working at the same time, Balima must balance these increased demands while pursuing her GED.

BronxWorks is helping not only the young people get their life back and go to school, they’re also helping people like me that are trying to move onto something bigger.”

James Dunn, Program Director, recalls how Balima’s personal drive impressed him. “She came every day. She worked really hard. She came to tutoring. She speaks multiple languages.” Balima recently took the GED test and passed three out of the four sections. She continues to come to GED prep classes to work on the last subject she needs to pass. “I am confident she will get her diploma,” James says. “She’s not giving up.”

Balima’s story is shared by so many people who come to the Bronx and dream of building a new life. With her GED in sight, Balima is now thinking about enrolling in BronxWorks college prep programs like CAFE. “My next goal is I want to be a registered nurse.”

I’m not young no more but I still want to fight for my dream.”

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