Tyysheema ‘Ty’ Mason is motivated. The 26 year old resident of Center For Family Services’ Camden DREAMS program is not only getting ready to graduate from the program this winter, she just completed two medical certifications.
“I plan on using my current certifications to work in a hospital setting, possibly the pediatric unit,” reflects Ty. “But I’d really like to go back to school to become a certified nurse.”
Life for Ty hasn’t always been easy. At a very young age, Tyysheema faced the tragic loss of her mother. She then moved from place to place sometimes with relatives and sometimes in foster care. At the age of 16, Ty found herself at Center For Family Services’ Together Youth Shelter before transitioning to the agency’s female group home, GrandSlam. But Ty’s struggles continued. She struggled with the difficult uphill battles facing the trauma and complexities of her past.
During her stay at GrandSlam, at the age of 18, Ty found out she was pregnant. She decided to leave GrandSlam with the hope she would be able to provide her baby with a more stable environment on her own.
However, things did not go as planned.
Ty found herself living at a friend’s house. She knew she needed to go back to Center For Family Services so she called her old counselor for guidance.
“It was like asking a friend for a favor,” recalls Ty’s feelings towards reaching out to her counselor at GrandSlam. “When I learned about Camden DREAMS I was excited to be able to have my own space, something I never had before in foster care of group home settings.”
Camden DREAMS provides apartments in Camden City for young adults who are transitioning to a more independent lifestyle. With the guidance of counselors, young adults learn to set goals, make responsible choices, and develop a plan for a self-sufficient future.
In 2008, Ty gave birth to a baby girl Nielle. Becoming a mother helps keep Ty going. “Being a mother is fun and motivating. There is someone else I have to do this for, work hard for, it’s not just me anymore.”
In early 2015, Center For Family Services’ had the opportunity to nominate a youth currently in their care for a scholarship provided by local nonprofit Impact Charities. Ty was nominated by staff who truly believed in her success.
The opportunity for Ty to receive her Certified Nurses Assistance certificate could not have come at a better time. Like so many youth her age she was at a crossroads trying to figure out what to do next in her life, what career to pursue.
“I always thought about nursing but never thought I was smart enough to do it but the support of the adults around me changed my outlook.”
Ty completed the certification at the top of her class. Because of her exceptional participation, the school asked her to come back and complete their Medication Technician program. Impact Charitie Services was so impressed they stepped up again and covered the cost of yet another program, ensuring Ty gets one more step closer to her career goal.
Now Ty is getting ready to truly be on her own. She accepted a full time position at Cooper Hospital and is working on securing an apartment for her and Nielle to call their own.