Stories

The icing on the cake

Joy Milner
|
September 7, 2021
Joy along with her siblings.

I have always been interested in healthcare. My dad is a nurse. My mom is a radiology technician. My aunt is a pediatrician.  As the eldest of four siblings and seven cousins, I also grew to love kids. When I was a child, if you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you I wanted to be a pediatrician just like my aunt.

During most of my childhood summers, I spent time with my grandparents in Jackson, Mississippi. Much of what I remember about Jackson as a kid were the countless potholes on the road, the boarded-up buildings, and –  to this day – the high poverty rate. From learning that these things don’t “coincidentally” or “accidentally” correlate with lower high school graduation rates, I understood at an early age that education was very important.  My mother always told us, “If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.” And I knew I needed to be a part of the solution.

“If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.”

I took my first job as a tutor in a local community college where I was enrolled. I tutored students who had worked their entire careers but were returning to college because they needed a degree to maintain their positions.  I tutored students who would spend hours studying, in addition to working a job and raising their kids—all while struggling to earn a passing grade on their exams. I tutored students who ranked third in their high school graduating class yet found it challenging to make a desirable score on their SAT.  

This meant to me that the issue wasn’t that students weren’t working hard enough, but rather that there were gaps, blockages, or pitfalls that made it significantly harder for them to succeed. This wasn’t entirely new to me.  Growing up in a diverse suburb in Atlanta, Georgia, this was the reality I lived and saw everyday.

As I began applying to college, my understanding of these issues and the healthcare industry also grew— for one, I learned that health careers include more than just doctors and nurses.  I discovered there are other career opportunities in the field: nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical or occupational therapists, speech therapists, public health specialists, and even healthcare administrators. As I matriculated through undergrad, I chose to start my career as a CNA.

The most memorable lesson I learned in my undergrad years came from one particular course I took called Race, Gender, and Medicine in the 21st Century. It baffled me that unlike most trends along educational and socioeconomic strata, black women actually experience higher birth complications as they become more educated. To this day, I am determined to impact this, along with other issues of health inequities.

It baffled me that unlike most trends along educational and socioeconomic strata, black women actually experience higher birth complications as they become more educated. To this day, I am determined to impact this, along with other issues of health inequities.

This is why a company like Dreambound is the perfect place for me to thrive, and why I choose to work here. Dreambound’s mission of upward mobility through education echoes the lessons and implements a solution that is essential to the world today. As a program coordinator on the customer success team, I get to assist students who have made the active choice to tackle those barriers that were placed in their way.  Better yet, I get to be a part of an organization that gives these students the chance to do so.  For people who have experienced a lifetime of “no’s,” I get to assist in giving the over-deserved “yes.”  And although I admire the work of physicians, I have found a path that allows me to approach the issue from a systematic approach, helping to address issues related to access to education. 

The healthcare entry point that Dreambound offers is just the icing on the cake considering my background.  I get to choose Dreambound daily, and I really hope that today you get to choose Dreambound, too!


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