As a teenager in Fort Valley, Katrena found it hard to find a job, and impossible to find one where she could meet her goal of helping the community. Then the Middle Georgia Consortium, through its Youth Work Experience Program, offered her the opportunity to become the receptionist at the Middle Georgia Community Action Agency. There Katrena did clerical work and assisted with the agency's programs, helping low-income people with energy assistance, credit counseling, and help in getting prescription drugs and commodity foods. While there, Katrena underwent an experience that sharpened the focus of her life goals. She gave birth to her second child, who was born very prematurely, weighing only one pound. He is fine now, and she resolved to become a nurse and work with low-weight babies. She enrolled first at Middle Georgia Technical College and then at Macon State College, where her expected graduation date is in December of 2006. In the meanwhile, her excellent work was not going unnoticed by the Community Action Agency. In 2004 they offered her a full-time job as administrative assistant at their headquarters in Warner Robins. County Developer Paige Lucas says, "Katrena is doing great. I don't know what we would do without her." The best thing about her experience with the Middle Georgia Consortium, says Katrena, was, "the chance to learn to do meaningful work at a young age. I love being able to make a difference in people's lives, and working full-time means I can make a decent life for myself and my children."
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