The school opened in November 2007 and I joined the next June. My first role was as Externship Coordinator and Admissions Counselor.
At the beginning our program was sufficiently small that I could do both jobs. As we grew, however, we had to hire someone to take over the admissions part.
We continued to grow so we eventually hired two more Career Services Coordinators, Lhyn Fontecha and Lisa Dam, and I was given the title Director of Career Services. Lhyn and Lisa are hard working, quick-learners who are in love with their jobs and are simply wonderful to work with. The three of us are job hunters; we place our students in externships and help them find employment. CCMCC is still growing and we’re planning to move into a new facility next year, which will result in my being promoted to a managerial position.
I’m a third generation Antioch resident. Grandma moved here when the small village had a single traffic light. Mom has always had a good heart but grew up in the 60s and was a flower child. It was the era of Woodstock and the Age of Aquarius with its values of love, unity, and brotherhood but with no regard for such bothersome demands as duty, discipline and responsibility. Mom was basically a good person with a kind and loving nature; she just didn’t make good choices.
Life with Mom had a nomadic quality; we moved away from Antioch on more than one occasion but always seemed to come back. We subsisted mainly on welfare. Mom worked at a series of minor part time jobs and engaged in a series of minor relationships with part time guys. On the other hand, Grandma, who was a model of patient and loving encouragement, did everything she could to offset the difficult situations Mom was putting me through. I could never figure out how my caring and nurturing grandmother could have raised my dysfunctional mom. Part of the reason, perhaps, was that Mom had been very close to her dad who died when she was 18 years old. Who could guess the effect such a tragedy might have on a person?
I made a big start on the path to healing when I was still young because Grandma said, “Your mom will never be the mom you want her to be; she’ll just be the mom she is.” Then she added, “As soon as you accept that, your relationship with her will be better.” She spoke the truth because I stopped expecting anything from my mom and the pain went away. I’ve applied Grandma’s wise advice to other relationships and have repeatedly demonstrated the truth that self-healing occurs when you come to terms with other people on that level of acceptance. Mom eventually transformed into an adult state of mind and began to make mature choices. The two of us are close, and she has turned out to be a far better grandma than she ever was as a mom.
When I was 16 my cousin dropped off her six-month-old child and never came back. The demands of motherhood became overwhelming so I dropped out of Antioch High, enrolled in Prospect High’s alternative study-from-home program, and graduated in 1993. Grandma and I co-parented my cousin until I was 21 years old, at which point his mom came back into our lives and his. People in my family seem to have a pattern of taking their time growing up but eventually doing so because the cousin subsequently did a good job of finishing the raising of her child, who is now 26 years old and doing well. He still calls me Mom.
I had always been interested in a career in medicine. Grandma was an LVN at Sutter Delta and Los Medanos. Growing up as a child, I was fascinated by her stories and decided I wanted to be in the medical field. I took a short course for front office training at Pittsburg Adult School and landed a job with the all-female “Women Caring for Women” OB-GYN Specialists in Walnut Creek. I discovered a love for patient-care and for the doctors with whom I worked. One of the things I brought to the position was a passion to grow and always to be learning something new with the result that in a few years I had risen to become the company’s Lead Medical Assistant. I had found something I could excel at. The job helped me blossom and mature as a human being, which made me better equipped to properly care for my son.
I had a son, Ricky, and five years later married Ben Orozco and added his two kids to my motherly obligations; we created two more together. The CCMCC director, Stacey Orozco, and I share a common last name because she is my sister-in-law. We met in 2000 when I began dating her brother-in-law. Stacey was in her RN nurses training program at the time. Her kind heart, caring soul, and sparkling personality attracted me from the beginning; we became fast friends.
When Stacey began putting CCMCC into place, she asked me to come work for her. She felt that my experience, skills, and attitudes would make me a perfect fit. I refused at first because I had never worked in an educational setting. I really enjoyed my job at OB-GYN Specialists and was afraid to leave a position I loved to work in an industry that I knew nothing about. A few months later Stacey approached me again. “You don’t have to do this by yourself,” she said. “We’ll be in it together.” Stacey has a track record of getting what she’s going after, so it was no surprise that she finally won me over.
All of us at CCMCC share the feeling that we’re engaged in helping young people find a profession that will provide them with a comfortable source of income while equipping them to make a positive contribution in making the world a better place. We find our greatest satisfaction in seeing students come in for the first day of class, nervous and apprehensive, and then watch them develop mastery in their chosen medical discipline. Less than a year later, we see them march into the marketplace as confident professionals.
That’s what CCMCC is all about. That’s why we love to come to work.