Fate and family led Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Savahanna Smith to CarDon & Associates. Two years ago, she was taking classes through Ivy Tech to become a veterinary technician. Then COVID struck and wiped out the number of job opportunities at animal clinics. When that door closed, her mother opened a window at the CarDon community where she works, Harbour Manor in Noblesville.
Savahanna’s mother introduced her to the Achieve Your Degree (AYD) program, a statewide collaboration between Ivy Tech campuses and organizations like CarDon that offers free or low-cost tuition to employees through tuition reimbursement or financial support. From there, she took Savahanna under her wing as a fellow housekeeper.
“It was nice to spend extra time with her,” Savahanna said. “She mentored me around, showed me the ropes and introduced me to the residents.”
Her experience getting to know residents steered Savahanna away from pet care and toward nursing.
“I couldn’t get enough of spending time with residents, so I went to HR and asked about the AYD program and becoming a CNA,” she said. “They got me all set up, and it was so fast and easy!”
Savahanna took CNA classes through Legacy CNA Training in Noblesville, earning her certification in August of last year.
This summer, she applied for Ivy Tech’s Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program and once again received tuition assistance through CarDon.
“That was exciting and a big stress relief,” she said. “Now, I’m a little more than halfway through my pre-requisite classes, and I start the nursing program in January of next year. My goal is to graduate and become a successful LPN. Being an LPN opens more doors than I would’ve thought, so I’m so excited CarDon gives people like me this opportunity to help us further our careers.”
Savahanna couldn’t imagine having a better home base than Harbour Manor as she carves out her career path.
“I wouldn’t pick anywhere else to be employed while learning and going through this change in my life,” she said. “All the staff members get along and work together really well. CarDon is so organized in its focus on caring for the residents. I have and continue to make so many great memories here. I appreciate everything CarDon has done to help better my life.”