The Chiappe family decided to sell her home and rent. "All the efforts should be in the school, versus paying the mortgage," she said.
Her efforts paid off. Chiappe successfully led her 16 students, who she says she considers to be "family" now, through the course. She also placed them into externships with physician offices in the South Bay community. When they complete 160 hours of service, the young women will receive a course completion certificate and be on their way to starting full-time careers as a medical assistant.
Once their class work was complete, the group even staged a small graduation ceremony, complete with the requisite caps and gowns.
It was only then, as the students celebrated their success, that Chiappe told them of the missing license, and the need to hold their class in a secret location.
"I wanted the students to finish their program. I said from the beginning, 'I'm going to finish with them, and then everything here will go into storage and I'll get a proper permit," Chiappe said.
The students were floored when they heard this. "It came as a shock," Rivera said. "It's very brave of her to do."
"The risk she has taken for us is just amazing, there are no barriers for her," said Montenegro.
Moving forward, Chiappe plans to focus on further cultivating South Bay Careers.
Her first step is ensuring she has a city business license.
"I will do what I need to get things done, but the law is the law. And I will follow the law, and get the proper permits." She is currently scouring different cities to work in and is applying for business licenses within these communities. "In order for me to apply, they have a fee. Obviously, I don't have the money to pay, but God will provide. That is my rule."
The risk and the sacrifices she made over the last five months were a small price to pay, she said. "I'm very humble when it comes to what I do. I get emotional about this because this is something I really believe the students need. Many of them don't have a chance to have a formal education. Some of them are single moms, some of them don't have jobs, some of them are on welfare. I know them well, because I'm part of them."
Centinela Valley Adult School has not reinstated their Medical Assistant course, said Jose Fernandez, superintendent of the Centinela Valley Union High School District. If one of the two state education tax initiatives are approved in the November election, the board will address the possibility of bringing it back.