Darlene Hamilton, left, with Enterprise Regional Resident Services Manager Lakeshia Pinder-Jackson

At 67, Darlene Hamilton is heading back to school.

After spending her life serving others through a career in the medical field, she is about to start a certified clinical medical assistant certification program which will allow her additional opportunities for private duty healthcare work.

“I care a lot about people,” said Hamilton, who is a resident of College Parkway Place in Maryland. “And I have a lot to give to others, emotionally and physically, and I still have a lot of energy. This is a calling – and passion – for me to do the Lord’s work in helping people.”

Hamilton acknowledges there were several roadblocks that made signing up for the certification a challenge, from finding and applying to the program to pursuing and finalizing the financial aid requirements.

Hamilton is one of a number of seniors across the country who must overcome challenges when signing up for courses.

While older adults may want to reap the employment benefits that community college programs can bring, some encounter hurdles, according to Kiplinger: “For older students balancing work, health and family, the obstacles for returning to school can seem insurmountable particularly from a technology perspective.”

Hamliton says she found the application process daunting, but remained determined to pursue her dream.

“The application and financial process can be discouraging for older people,” Hamiliton said. ‘My generation did not grow up with technology and older people may throw in the towel in pursuing similar opportunities because they are not technology-savvy. I refused to give up even though some parts of the process felt like a brick wall I couldn’t get past.”

I’ve got good energy and the right mindset. I’m so appreciative of Enterprise and Lakeshia for going the extra mile to help make this educational opportunity a reality.

She credits Lakeshia Pinder-Jackson, Enterprise’s regional resident services manager, with being a crucial resource to get her application and financial aid in order. Hamilton notes how Pinder-Jackson made important phone calls to help bridge the gap between the college’s initial acceptance and its final scholarship offer. Pinder-Jackson’s outreach is part of Enterprise’s Resident Services program which aims to connect residents to the resources and opportunities most impactful to them and their families.

“Helping our residents and connecting them with resources to enhance their well-being is a key part of my job and one of the things I most love about what I do,” said Pinder-Jackson. “This certification program is important to Darlene and I hoped that with a bit of persistence and regular follow-up that I could help streamline the process for her.”

Hamilton will begin her studies in August at Anne Arundel Community College, located near her home.

“You are only as old as you feel and this opportunity is an exciting one,” Hamilton said. “I’ve got good energy and the right mindset. I’m so appreciative of Enterprise and Lakeshia for going the extra mile to help make this educational opportunity a reality for me. I can’t wait to start this educational journey.”

As Enterprise celebrates the creation of one million homes, we celebrate resident milestones and ongoing achievements like this one for Darlene Hamilton.