Former homeless teen opens Lehigh clinic to treat others in need

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She was once homeless, but now she is helping save the lives of others after opening the doors to a clinic that helps families in need.

Yajaida Vasquez is an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) and she has always wanted to help people, but unfortunate circumstances led to her living on the streets when she was a teenager.

“I experienced homelessness as a teenager and one of the things I remember from that is all of the blocks related to health care at that time…the biggest thing was being relentless. I just had something inside of me that let me know that there was more,” said Vasquez.

So she defied the odds and got back on her feet, going from homeless teen to an ARNP at the clinic she founded in Lehigh Acres.

“I saw that this was an area that had a lot of Hispanics and a lot of people with a lot of needs that were not being taken care of. We see everyone from insurance to no insurance to it doesn’t matter; we make it work we try to make it as affordable as we can,” said Vasquez.

Southwest Florida Community Foundation president, Sarah Owens says it is inspiring to see Vasquez use the scholarships they gave her to help others.

“It’s so exciting to see what she has done for the community. When you see the clinic she’s established in Lehigh Acres, you see her serving people that otherwise wouldn’t have access to medical treatment and she does it with such a kind and loving heart,” Owens said.

Vasquez has advice that she offers others who think they may be in inescapable situations.

“Dreams are not too big. Whatever goals you have are not too big. There’s always people willing to help,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez also says anyone needing health care can simply call her clinic.

For more information visit the Suncoast Medical Center webpage here.

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