I was the second oldest of 5 siblings being raised by parents who migrated to this country. My siblings and I were raised in the outskirts of the city of Chicago. My parents instilled strong family values to love one another, respect all, live a simple life, work hard, and to believe in God and live by his teachings.
I became pregnant at the age of 15 years old a sophomore in high school. At that age I was not allowed to date but had my first relationship without my parent’s knowledge or consent. Being pregnant at 15 resulted in me feeling ashamed, confused, and very scared. I relied heavily on the resources provided by the high school I attended and in a lot of prayer. Soon after, I was blessed with a beautiful healthy daughter who became my sunshine and inspiration.
Despite all the struggles I had faced during my teenage years I never lost hope for a better tomorrow. I knew that the only way to provide a good quality of life to my daughter was through obtaining an education for myself. My educational journey began early on – I refused to allow an opportunity pass me by. I obtained my CNA certificate via a work program in high school and graduated high school with my class. After high school I immediately enrolled at Triton Community College – Triton had a daycare on campus, which allowed my daughter to attend school with me. I obtained my Associates Degree in Applied Science in Nursing, in 2002 and hit the workforce running. I quickly realized that for a leadership position in Nursing higher education was the key. I decided to go back to school and obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Degree in 2010. I decided to stay in school and continue with my educational momentum and obtained a Master’s of Science in Nursing Degree in 2014. I currently work for the Department of Veteran Affairs; I hold the position of Nurse Professional Development Practitioner. I’m passionate about my calling of being a Nurse and an Educator – I plan to pursue higher goals.
That little girl who once walked along side of me is now a thriving 22-year-old young woman a college graduate from the University of Illinois. She was a stellar student who was awarded the Universities Presidential Scholarship all 4 years. Clarissa volunteered as an Illini Mentor and volunteered an entire summer where she taught English in the country of China. She’d studied abroad in Spain, Morocco, and Austria. During her studies in Europe she visited over 15 different countries and cities. My daughter is currently a kindergarten teacher in Washington D.C. where she is helping build young minds. My daughter’s accomplishments are the results of her mothers’ tireless determination for a better tomorrow. I am extremely proud.
ACH is so excited to be honoring Elisa Gomez as our 2018 Woman of Purpose Leadership Honoree! Make sure to join us for our 4th Annual Women of Purpose Awards Luncheon on April 28, 2018 to be inspired and network with other phenomenal women.
Get your tickets here: www.acaringhand.net/shop