• Maggie Goldsmith

Helping Neighbors: Changing Careers, Changing Lives


As children, we are all asked what we want to do when we grow up. And for as long as I can remember, my response was always “help people like a doctor or a nurse does”. That’s what I always wanted to do; but I didn’t do it. I ended up marrying – and divorcing -- my high school sweetheart and then managing A retail shop on Sanibel where I live. I stayed there for many, many years, grinning through the odd hours, missing Christmases and Thanksgivings with my family, and the small salary. One day the unimaginable happened. My store closed and I, all of a sudden, found myself gainfully unemployed.

Alarming though it was, I took the “if I can make it here” sentiment to heart. I looked back to what I wanted to do when I grew up and decided to return to school to become a LPN. But I was basically starting my career over from scratch. Where was I to begin?

I started by seeking out friends and acquaintances who worked as LPNs asking them about what they loved and hated about their jobs. No topic was off the table—this was a major, life-changing decision, and I wanted the nitty-gritty. Of course, there’s good and bad with every job, but I wanted to know if the good was good enough to counteract the bad.

I knew I couldn’t take on any more debt, so I opted for part-time education, working during the day to supplement my unemployment while going to class at night. But my modest waitress salary, unemployment and small savings didn’t cover the entire cost of tuition, books and materials, testing fees, etc. I did some research and discovered F.I.S.H. OF SANCAP could provide adult scholarships for women and immediately applied. While I had to go through their financial intake process, FISH was able to get me through it quickly and assist with some of my educational expenses.

A career change takes time, dedication, and a whole lot of learning. But, take it from me: When you are working toward that new career—it’s 100% worth it. Now, years later, I continue providing private LPN services to a handful of individuals. Becoming a LPN was the right choice for me. While going through the training was hard work, I have always had the will and desire to help people. I have gathered experiences not often found in any other career, have pride over many accomplishments and made lifetime friends with people I would otherwise never have met; and the other rewards are priceless. Thank you, FISH, for helping my lifelong passion become a reality.


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