Johnetta’s Journey

Johnetta’s Journey


by Jennifer L. Hipple, Communications Specialist

When Johnetta Sumo was just 8 years old, she wanted to be a doctor. Growing up in Liberia, she saw her mother pass away at a very young age. “They weren’t able to help her,” Johnetta says. “It inspired me to want to become a doctor.”

Johnetta checking Bryan’s temperature (photo taken before C-19).

In 2018, Johnetta came to work at Hammer as an Assistant Program Manager at our Queensland home. She wanted to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), so she moved to a Direct Support Professional (DSP) role while she went to school with the help of a donor-supported Hammer educational grant. After Johnetta earned her degree in 2019, she joined Hammer’s nursing team. Johnetta’s currently back at school, pursuing her registered nursing (RN) degree. “I’ve got three more semesters,” she says. You can hear the excitement and relief in her voice.

While Johnetta works fulltime at Hammer as an LPN, her educational pursuits have been made easier with donor-supported Hammer education grants. “It has helped significantly,” she says. “It helps me pay my bills and pay for another semester.” Working and going to school can be tough especially for a single mom of a 10-year-old daughter. “Having Hammer work with me has helped me balance work and school and what I learn at school I’m able to apply at work,” Johnetta says. “I’m thankful to the nursing team at Hammer. They are very understanding. They took over my caseload while I was gone to Africa.”

Johnetta and Gretchen

A few months ago, Johnetta participated in a mission trip to her native Liberia as part of an eight-member nursing team. “We want to help improve the quality of care in underdeveloped countries,” she says. “It was a very fulfilling opportunity. We trained over 200 nurses and midwives on how to do CPR, conduct head-to-toe assessments, take vital signs, and do proper documentation. We also provided each of them with a nursing essentials bag. It inspired me to further my education, to perhaps become a nurse practitioner or achieve a doctorate degree in nursing.”

Johnetta says she is grateful for the Hammer education grants she has received. “They have really made a difference for me. I want others to benefit from my education.”

If you would like to learn more about supporting our education grants program, please contact Ellen Timmerman-Borer at 952-277-2433 or ellen.tborer@hammer.org

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