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Whether it’s providing health education for girls in Kenya or advocating for marginalized patients back home, Elysia 冈萨雷斯 is able to give others a voice – because she found hers 金伯利·费尔顿著

“I never thought I would be able to go to college, because I didn’t finish high school.”

Elysia 冈萨雷斯 dropped out of high school when she was 16. 然而十年后,她成了 护理 aoa体育官网的学生, looking into the dark eyes of hundreds of young girls listening intently as she taught in schools on the slopes of Mt. 肯尼亚的埃尔贡.

Education gives these girls the hope of changing their lives, of having a voice. 冈萨雷斯, 因为她教导和鼓励他们, is both the antithesis of this hope and the personification of it. She dropped out of school – but she keeps learning and she sees how hard things helped create who she is today.


冈萨雷斯 knows what it’s like to blend into the edges, hoping to be invisible. 她知道孤独是什么感觉.

一个拉丁裔在凯泽尔白人占多数的学校里, 俄勒冈州, 她在学校很用功,但很安静, with a frizzy cloud of hair and not enough money for the Miss Me jeans with the rhinestone pockets.

“Teenagers get really caught up in who’s popular,她说。. “I felt like I had a lot of problems when I was in high school. Not that I would get into trouble, but I didn’t have a lot of friends. 感情上很难. 高中的孩子都很刻薄. So I decided that it would be best if I got my GED and started working.”

Her 27-year-old self would tell her 16-year-old self to stick it out. And that’s precisely what she said to every Kenyan girl in every school that she and a group of George Fox 护理 students visited – with compassion, understanding how all-encompassing difficult situations are in the moment, but also with the conviction that comes with hindsight. As a junior in high school, she could not imagine tolerating one more year. 所以她辞职了.

“我妈妈真的很失望,”她说. “我妈妈只上了六年级. She understood how hard it was for me, but she really values education, so it was the hardest on her.”

Despite dropping out of high school, 冈萨雷斯 was not idle. 她的父母从小就让她努力工作,攒钱, 所以她拿到了普通教育水平证书,开始在杰西潘尼百货公司当收银员. As soon as she turned 18, she took a job at Salem Health, handling patient registration. That’s when her own mom came in as a patient – in a lot of pain, with unknown severity.

“我很担心, and that was one of the most horrible feelings I’ve had, 感觉我不明白发生了什么, 在这种情况下我感到无助,冈萨雷斯说。. Her parents spoke English, but they didn’t know the medical world or health insurance. 这家人感到迷茫和害怕.

“There was one day that I crawled into her hospital bed, 我抱着她, 我告诉她, “哦,妈妈, 我不想让你死.’”

Tears start immediately as 冈萨雷斯 remembers that day, years later. But while the doctor seemed brusque, the nurse assigned to them took a personal interest.

“I felt like I could really trust her, leaving my mom there,她说。.

冈萨雷斯 doesn’t even remember her name, but that nurse shaped her future. 一年后, she entered Chemeketa Community College for her 护理 prerequisites, and in 2022 transferred to George Fox as a sophomore 护理 student.

“I really like to be there for people who feel like they need it,她说。. “That personal interest she showed in my family and me – even now, it has a really deep impact on us.”



冈萨雷斯还记得那个卷曲的头发, 孤独, and the lost feeling as she teaches and plays with the Kenyan schoolgirls. “I’m grateful for going through that, because it made me a stronger person now,她说。. “It gave me some humility that I’m able to carry over now. I have an interest in people who are in the background. People like that go through a lot that they don’t voice, 除非你了解他们,否则你不会知道. I would say the girls there are the strongest I’ve ever met, 他们不得不面对的一些事情.”

Last year was not the first time George Fox 护理 students visited Kenya, 与肯尼亚组织Marafiki合作, 斯瓦希里语的“朋友”.” But it was the first time they focused on health education – menstrual cycles, 卫生, 有权说“不”——而不是治疗病人, trying to reach beyond immediate needs and shape this generation. 冈萨雷斯 found she has a gift for addressing hard topics and saying things people don’t want to hear.

“I have an interest in people who are in the background. People like that go through a lot that they don’t voice, 除非你了解他们,否则你不会知道.”

“Reflecting on things I was told when I was younger helps me to more carefully pick my words, especially where people may think they’re being personally attacked,她说。. “I think, especially in healthcare, you have to have difficult conversations. The initial emotions behind that are not always accepting; sometimes it comes off as angry or confrontational. 所以你只需要保持冷静, 用词要谨慎, to try and touch that person’s heart and get the message across that you need to.”

冈萨雷斯喜欢她现在的样子. She was the only first-year 护理 student accepted on the Kenya trip. She’s working at both Salem Health and Providence 纽伯克 Hospital as a certified nurse assistant while studying to be a 注册护士.

Tucked inside the clear cover of her phone, she has a note from one of the schoolgirls. Invited to write anonymous questions to be answered by the 护理 students, 一个女孩写道, “我想成为你.”

“一想到有人想成为你,就很难过, 但只要我想, “护理学校太难了. 我该怎么做呢?“我记得我是多么幸运.”

冈萨雷斯将于今年夏天返回肯尼亚. 是否有, or translating for a Spanish-speaking family in the emergency room, 或者安抚等待抽血的紧张病人, she is determined to show people they are not invisible. They matter in a culture that may want them to blend into the edges. 他们有发言权.





浏览本期的 George Fox Journal 阅读更多aoa体育官网的故事, 俄勒冈州国家认可的aoa体育官网.