Lawrence, Mass. – Home Health VNA has awarded a scholarship presented annually in memory of a former employee to Yeneli Tejada-Cruz, a Lawrence resident and graduating senior of the Health and Medical Assisting program at Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover. Tejada-Cruz plans to study nursing at Merrimack College in North Andover this fall.
The $500 scholarship was established in 1995 as a tribute to Lisa Santiago Ventura, who sustained fatal injuries after being struck during a high-speed police chase while driving to care for a patient. In her memory, Home Health VNA awards the Lisa Santiago Ventura Memorial Scholarship to a graduating senior of Greater Lawrence Technical School where she was once a student.
“I worked really hard, but I was still surprised and excited to receive the scholarship,” said Tejada-Cruz. “It means a lot and I’m very grateful.”
Theresa Hurley, lead instructor in the Health and Medical Assisting program at Greater Lawrence Technical School, said Tejada-Cruz’s special combination of dedication and innate compassion for people in need make her “more than well prepared” for her chosen profession.
“Being a CNA is a hard job, but Yeneli smiles when she talks about helping patients in her care,” Hurley said. “She is a natural leader who will go far in her nursing career.”
Tejada-Cruz has already received her OSHA, Home Health Aide, Caring for People with Alzheimer’s Disease, Basic Life Support, CPR and First Aid certifications. She works as both as a CNA at Sutton Hill Center in Andover and as a pharmacy technician at Walgreens in Lawrence.
At Sutton Hill Center, Tejada-Cruz said it makes her happy when the residents call out her name in greeting upon her arrival.
“I like talking to them, making them laugh and hearing their stories,” said Tejada-Cruz, whose knowledge and understanding of each individual help her identify behavioral changes. In addition, her lifelong interest in healthcare has been further strengthened through her role as a family caregiver for her father and grandmother.
“That experience has opened my eyes. I’ve been strong for them, and I’ve learned a lot,” she said. “I know I can handle anything in my future.”
Karen Gomes, RN, MS, CPHQ, president and chief executive officer of Home Health Foundation, said she is looking forward to following Tejada-Cruz’s healthcare career in college and beyond.
“Now more than ever, it is important to recognize the tremendous work that healthcare professionals perform daily,” Gomes said. “We present this scholarship to Yeneli proudly to support her in reaching her educational and professional goals, which will in turn help countless others throughout our communities.”
About Home Health VNA
Home Health VNA is a not-for-profit home care agency of Home Health Foundation, which also includes providers Commonwealth Nursing Services, Home Health VNA of NH, Merrimack Valley Hospice and York Hospital Hospice as part of Tufts Medicine. Together, these agencies are leading the development of a new era of innovation with a relentless focus on transforming home-based health and hospice care in all the places patients call home.