A Dose of Inspiration
Ariel Jackson has an infectious smile and a drive that will inspire the most skeptical. In addition to a meticulous nature, her dream to obtain a paid position in a demanding medical field is admirable. After having joined Tierra’s College to Career, NEXUS Program in June of 2016, Ariel successfully completed the program in two years. As a result, she officially graduated from Los Angeles Mission College with a Pharmacy Technician certificate in 2018.
Reflecting on the moment she became a college graduate, Ariel beams with pride, “When I finally saw my certificate and held it, I felt so good. It was hard work. I studied so much, and did it. My Dad and Step-Mom were so proud of me.” Completing an externship with CVS Pharmacy last summer, Ariel quickly learned how to properly label prescriptions, scan medications, and count pills. This year, Ariel landed a volunteer opportunity with Tierra’s partner, Valley Presbyterian Hospital (VPH), and currently works in the VPH Pharmacy Department.
Ariel Jackson, VPH Pharmacy Volunteer
A first for many, Corina Gutierrez, Tierra Client Services Manager, explains, “This is the first time a Tierra client has ever worked in Pharmacy, because you have to be fully certified. When Ariel began volunteering in the VPH Pharmacy Department, it was a strict requirement that a Tierra coach be with her at all times. Ariel had to prove she could do the job independently, which she did. As of today, Tierra coaches have completely faded away, which is always the goal.”
VPH’s Director of Pharmacy, David Choi, shares, “I have never, up until Ariel, worked with an individual who had a developmental disability. You have to be certified to work in this department, and I’ve never known a program like Tierra that makes that possible. Ariel is definitely helpful. Labeling medication, checking expiration dates, those things take a tremendous amount of time, so we really appreciate her.” Virgina Napoles, VPH’s Director of Volunteer Services, echoes Choi’s sentiments, stating, “Ariel is very friendly, loves to greet people in the halls, and is doing a great job in Pharmacy. She’s learning a lot and we love having her here!”
When asked why she chose to pursue a career as a Pharmacy Technician, Ariel said, “It’s an important position and I really like helping people.”
Virginia Napoles, VPH Director of Volunteer Services, and Ariel Jackson