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Automotive Student Turns Pain Into Passion

Toni Chacon’s world collapsed when her three boys were removed from her custody in the summer of 2021.

“My children are who make me who I am,” she said. “I am a mother. I am a teacher. If I don’t have any of that, I’m not me.”

Rather than letting the situation get the best of her, Toni decided as she fought her case with the state, that she would take time for herself. She had spent 15 years working in the medical field and was looking for a change. Without her children at home, she had time to return to school, get her high school diploma and start something new.

“To me, this was me time,” she said. “I wasn’t expecting to have my children taken from me, but I took this as the best learning experience that I can, as difficult a situation as I was put in. It was just the change I needed, a different outlook on life. I thought if I’m not going to have my children right now, I’m going to do something and I need to do it now and it needs to be something that’s going to help me change my life for the better,” she said.

She decided to enroll in the Automotive Technician program at UEI College’s Mesa campus.


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