Dr. Michelle Santana, a nursing professor at Neumann University, recently received Chester’s Woman of the Year Award in recognition of her new program, Angel’s Rise, a mentorship program for Chester youth, grades nine through 12.
Each child in this program is assessed on several developmental cycles, including professional, personal, financial, political, and cultural. The result is an individualized plan that is developed for the child based on where their greatest needs lie, a model that took Santana four years to develop.
Santana officially started her program in December 2017.
“I wanted to give back,” she said. “My thought was ‘What can I do to help the kids of Chester?’”
Angel’s Rise teaches basic life skills that are not taught in school, like how to open a bank account, how to prepare for a job interview, how to apply for college, how to function in a community, and most importantly, how to ask for help.
“Kids don’t know how to express that they need help,” said Santana. “Basic life skills are what my program is all about.”
Santana also incorporates her passion for nursing with kids who have an interest in healthcare. By using old text books, Santana provides a strong enough foundation for many children to be able to apply to a healthcare program in college.
The Angel’s Rise mentorship program begins in April and continues throughout the full calendar year. Each youngster is mentored for at least two hours a week, for eight weeks.
Santana is also the chair of the Board of Health in Chester, vice chair of the National Congress of Black Women, and an associate nursing professor at Neumann University.
Born and raised in Chester, Santana earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Neumann, followed by a master’s degree in nursing from Drexel University, and a doctorate in nursing from Grand Canyon University.