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It Takes a Village: Karina Tapia


Location | Rhode Island

How this student was able to balance personal growth and motherhood with help from Year Up

Creating the best life possible for her family is essential for Karina Tapia, whose parents raised her to look towards the future, even when faced with obstacles in the present.  

Before joining the Year Up program, Karina admits that she felt a little lost. She always had good grades, but after dropping out of nursing school because the cost was too high, she wasn’t sure what to do next. As a single mother, she wanted to put herself on the right path to provide for her son, just as her parents had provided for her. That’s when a friend referred her to Year Up.  

Although Karina saw Year Up as a life-changing opportunity, it also began as a life-challenging opportunity. As a young mother starting the program, Karina was faced with unique pressures to prove herself as a parent — in particular, she had to work with the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to arrange for continued custody of her son. At first, Karina felt that balancing motherhood, the sometimes inflexible demands of DCYF, and the full-time commitment to the program would be too much to handle. That’s when Year Up leaned in to live up to their promise: “High expectations, high support.”  

With the help of her coaches, managers, instructors, and the entire Year Up network, Karina balanced her responsibilities within the program with her responsibilities as a mother. Year Up helped rearrange her schedule to add much-needed flexibility, which allowed Karina to focus on her professional development while also giving her the time she needed to be a good mother to her son. Like her family, Year Up was dedicated to helping Karina create the best opportunity for herself possible.  

Karina fully embraced the Year Up program with the strong support of her family and community. She started with an internship at Amica Insurance in Rhode Island, which she ultimately converted into a full-time Payroll Assistant role.  

From offering flexibility and support to arming her with the skills to succeed at Amica, Year Up empowered Karina to “be a good student, a good intern, and a good mother” and fully recognize her potential as a young professional. 

For Karina, her success in this program is just one step towards closing the Opportunity Divide. As she looks towards the future, she hopes to see the imbalances in the system addressed so that families like hers can be raised in a village of hope, opportunity, and realized potential.  

Support more success stories like Karina’s by giving to Year Up