TAP Helps the Whole Family: Miz’s Story

Miz Lexima is a successful, smart, and driven woman. Working as an oncology and infusion nurse, she is almost done with her master’s degree in nursing through James Madison University and is planning to become a nurse practitioner after graduation. And as if that wasn’t enough, she also runs a business to create medical-grade wigs. How did Miz start on this track? She worked with TAP.

After graduating from high school, Miz wasn’t sure what she was going to do. Then her older sister recommended TAP’s Certified Nurse Aide program. It seemed like a good fit for Miz—she had always been inspired by nurses. “And TAP had a good reputation,” she says, so she joined the program.

From her start with TAP in the CNA program, Miz felt like she was in the right place—she felt a connection with TAP staff from the beginning and was excited to see Black women in roles of authority. Feeling comfortable at TAP, she also began to look at other programs. She enrolled her kids in TAP’s Head Start program and later served as the vice president of the TAP Head Start Parent Policy Council. Through this role, Miz developed a range of skills, like networking and building a professional reputation. She spent time in a few of TAP’s education and employment programs and gained educational and professional experience, which led to her getting an associate degree in nursing from Virginia Western, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from James Madison University.

Miz found that TAP had programs which could help her while she was parenting, working, and pursuing her education at the same time. TAP’s Job Training programs gave Miz an extra support system when she needed it. Looking back, she recalls “I had an end point of nursing,” and that the staff at TAP “helped me find the way there.” And especially early on, TAP programs were able to give support in ways that made a difference. When her laptop died right before the end of her semester, Miz was able to consult with TAP staff. TAP was able to use some job training funding to quickly replace the broken laptop since it was crucial to her education and training work. Miz put in the hard work, and TAP was able to make sure small barriers couldn’t keep her from reaching the finish line.

For Miz, working as a nurse is deeply rooted in her personal goals, and her desire to be a leader in the community. The opportunities she has taken advantage of are as much about the sense of growth as they are the qualification at the end of the journey. “I want to be a leader in my community through nursing,” Miz explains. At TAP, she could pursue her full portfolio of personal and professional goals without needing to prioritize one over the other.  

With the final stretch of her nursing goals in sight, she is looking forward to establishing herself as not just a Nurse Practitioner but also as a community leader through her work, and to innovating as an entrepreneur with a strong foundation of medical knowledge powering her future business endeavors. Looking back, Miz knows she is on the right path. “Nursing is tough,” she acknowledges. “But life’s been good.”