Sherry Carrion

‘What am I doing? Where am I going?’ And HOPE reassured me, ‘Yes, Sherry, you are making the right decision.’

Stability at a time of instability

Former cook unpacks gift of HOPE for new career in health care

Sherry Carrion found stability in the middle of the instability of a worldwide pandemic.

Fueled by the SC Johnson HOPE grant and training at Gateway Technical College, Sherry began a new career with an invigorated outlook on her life.

“COVID for me,” Sherry says, “was an opportunity to reassess, ‘What am I doing? Where am I going?’ And HOPE reassured me, ‘Yes, Sherry, you are making the right decision.’”

For many years, Sherry was a cook at the Racine County Jail, taking tremendous pride in preparing good food and treating the inmates with dignity and respect. She had left that job, though, and when COVID hit, Sherry was a cook in an assisted living facility.

As the impacts of the pandemic set in, Sherry questioned the stability of her career. “With everything being shut down, I knew being in foodservice wasn’t going to work for me anymore.”

As she pondered entering a new career, she wondered how to begin that process. She had started a new job working as a part-time caregiver, but between the low pay and low hours, she needed something more.

Her answer came in the form of the SC Johnson HOPE grant.

“I was 56 years old. Do you think I thought about changing my career?” says Sherry.  “But, that’s what hope is about. Hope is something that lands in your lap and it opens your eyes and your heart – and that’s what the HOPE grant did for me. I took that opportunity and ran with it.”

The grant paid for Sherry’s Certified Nursing Assistant training and she now works in eldercare at an area facility. She loves her new job and says she’s extremely appreciative of the opportunity given to her by SC Johnson and the HOPE grant. 

Sherry says receiving a HOPE grant is like receiving a beautifully wrapped present. “In that box was the gift of hope, the gift of a great teacher in Sarah, the nurse. I keep unpacking all these things: Wow, the gift of courage! Wow, the gift of confidence! It built my self-esteem, my self-worth ... I can't even explain. I’m overjoyed. I’m beyond grateful. It’s all in this box labeled HOPE.”