Mother of 3 overcomes a long road to graduate from Husson

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BREWER, Maine (WABI) - It was graduation day at Husson University last weekend.

Now those graduates are headed to the workforce.

One is a Registered Nurse who is taking a job at Eastern Maine Medical Center's Cardiac Care Unit, but before she wound up in Maine she was homeless in Connecticut with not much guidance or support.

"Only 54% of students graduate that school, a lot of my classmates either died in gangs or in violence," said Adais Viruet-Torres "Very few of them made it to colleges and a lot of them didn't finish and I was almost part of that statistic of not finishing high school."

Adais didn't have much family support, and even though she was working three part time minimum wage jobs she was still homeless. She wanted to go to college but couldn't afford it.

"One day I heard this Marine talk about Job Corps and he was like, 'There's Job Corps and you can get free education' and I'm like 'Sign me up, I need to go to school, I want to go to school' he says 'Where do you want to go?' and I said 'The furthest place away from here.' and I ended up in Limestone, Maine"

She flourished at the Loring Job Corps Center, and ended up being part of a student government trip to Washington, DC.

"I first met Adais back in 2008 when she came to Washington with some other Job Corps students from Aroostook County, she told me about the value of the program," said Senator Collins.

"She was one of the first females that I met that were empowering," said Viruet-Torres. "And showed a lot of what I could do in my life if I just applied myself and that's what I did."

She finished at Job Corps, and ended up at Beal College where she earned her associates degree and then went to work as a CNA before moving on to Husson in their Nursing program.

Three years later the 29 year old mother of three boys found out she would meet Senator Collins again, this time as the commencement speaker at her college graduation.

"I just wanted a picture with her," said Viruet-Torres. "To show my kids where I came from but she seemed very excited to see me and to see what happened like the effects of what happened after Job Corps because she met me just that one time."

"I so admire her resilience, her persistence, and her intelligence," added the Senator.

"We didn't just talk about how exciting everything was and where I've come from", said Viruet-Torres. "But we talked about the importance of these programs, and I'm glad she's behind it, so it means a lot to kids like us."

Adais only wanted a photo, but after going from homeless to Husson University graduate, she is becoming an inspiration to others.

"I just want to give opportunities and I just want to help people, I just want to reach out and put my hand out and hopefully, the way that Job Corps did to me, the way that Maine did to me, I can do to others," said Viruet-Torres. "I mean I could move to a different state and make more money but you can't buy the people in Maine, I mean it's a great community I have great neighbors, I want my kids to grow up in a good community, but I also don't want to forget where I came from."