The Christel House Work/Study Program helps build on high school success as students enter adult life, giving grads support and guidance as they navigate the challenges of their education, careers—and dreams. Here’s one student’s story . . .
Chantelle is a lot like other ambitious college students. The 2014 Christel House Academy graduate and Work/Study student is a social work major who truly wants to help people. She made the dean’s list last semester. And next year she hopes to be a resident assistant.
Chantelle loves college life. She embraces the hard work. She’s used to it. What’s new are the comforts—a place to study, a bed of her own, somewhere to call home.
Not so long ago, things were much different.
While she was in high school, Chantelle’s family was evicted from their apartment, and Chantelle became homeless. “Things were hard,” she says. “I slept on couches.”
During high school Chantelle worked 30 hours a week at the local Dairy Queen to support herself. She had to find a place to live and pay her own rent. “I was responsible for all my needs—food, clothing, school supplies and phone bills.”
Chantelle worked so much, her grades began to slip. Then her grandmother died, and Chantelle hit rock bottom. “I was on the verge of dropping out,” she admits. That’s when Chantelle’s Christel House Academy counselor stepped in. “She was my backbone,” Chantelle says. “She pushed me to do better.” The Work/Study Program inspired Chantelle to envision a future that included college—studying social work—and helping others. Chantelle cut back on work hours and amped up study time.
With continued guidance and support through the Work/Study Program, Chantelle earned scholarships and financial aid sufficient to cover costs for her entire freshman year. On move-in day at Indiana State University, Chantelle’s Christel House Academy counselor drove her to school and helped her settle in.
This semester, Chantelle is enrolled in 18 hours of university courses—a full load—but she still makes time to give back, a value instilled in her at Christel House. Over the holidays, she collected 190 pairs of jeans for homeless teens.
Chantelle is ambitious about her future. She’d like to be a high school counselor, like the Christel House Academy counselors who inspired her. “I want to help out where it starts: in school,” she asserts. Eventually she’d like to earn her master’s degree. “First, I need to get my career going so I can be stable.”
The Christel House Work/Study Program helps ensure Chantelle’s stability now, as she’s pursuing her goals. “They go the extra mile,” she says. “Other schools just get you through high school. Then a lot of people fall off and give up. At Christel House, they genuinely care about their students and graduates. I don’t think any other schools have that level of support.”
Through your support of “Help Inner City Youth Visit and Apply for College,” you are helping Christel House studentsprepare for life after graduation. You help students succeed.Learn more about the Christel House Work/Study Program and Chantelle’s story at www.christelhouse.org/Chantelle
Imagine a sweet, ambitious 6-year-old girl growing up in the slums of Mexico City. That’s Flor. She’s a student at Christel House Mexico and is now in first grade. Flor is evidence that regardless of how young you are, you can make an impact on those around you. Flor’s grandmother, Miss Magdalena, is like a mother to her. Flor’s biological mom passed away the day she was born, and Miss Magdalena became Flor’s guardian. Miss Magdalena doesn’t know how to read or write. When she can’t help Flor with her studies, she knows she can count on a teacher at Christel House to mentor her granddaughter and keep her on track with her learning. According to her teachers, Flor is respectful, enthusiastic and eager to participate. Every day, she strives to improve and learn something new. She enjoys helping her teachers keep order in the classroom, and her peers say that class wouldn’t be the same without her. She excels in math and takes advantage of the opportunity to support her classmates. When Flor grows up, she wants to become a doctor. Your support of “Educate A Mexico Girl-Child from the Barrios” helps Flor and Christel House students like her overcome difficulties and pursue their dreams—in the present and in the future. With your support, Flor has the opportunity to turn her love of math into a career in medicine.
The Work/Study Program. The extra five miles...The Christel House Work/Study Program is unique. While most K-12 institutions are focused on graduation, Christel House provides more. Our mission continues through career—with students becoming self-sufficient, contributing members of society. The Work/Study Program assists students for up to 5 years following graduation. By providing graduates with guidance, mentoring, and financial support as they pursue their career aspirations, Christel House helps these young adults become firmly established in the work force.Through partnerships with the private sector and government, Christel House South Africa secures full or partial bursaries or grants for students continuing their studies. To monitor their progress, we regularly check their grades and get updates on their improvement by phone, at quarterly alumni meetings and when they return to school as volunteers. We are proactive with students to ensure they stay on track. When needed, Christel House South Africa secures mentors to provide Work/Study students with additional academic support. Christel House South Africa also maintains relationships with prospective employers to secure learnerships, apprenticeships and full time employment for graduates.Meet Nadine, a Christel House South Africa Work/Study studentNadine graduated from Christel House South Africa in 2013 and was one of the top students in her class. After graduation, Nadine joined the Christel House Work/Study Program and went on to study at Stellenbosch University where she was awarded a Recruitment Bursary, a significant academic scholarship. Raised in Hanover Park—an extremely impoverished and dangerous area of Cape Town—Nadine is acutely aware of the problems that plague impoverished communities. She plans to complete a Masters in Psychology and become a teacher. Equipped with a full understanding of poverty and the tools to help stem the tide of gangsterism and drugs, Nadine wants to give back to her community through education. The Christel House Work/Study Program has helped Nadine continue her schooling and pursue her dreams.