When Danika was only 6, her parents separated, and she was faced with the difficult decision of whether to live with her mother or father. After weighing her relationship with both, Danika decided life with her father would be more stable and supportive. The two live with Danika’s grandmother and uncle in a tiny dwelling where Danika shares a bedroom with her father, and her uncle sleeps on the sofa.
In 2008, Danika graduated from Christel House Mexico. Danika is now in her final year of university, where she’s studying to become a clinical psychologist. She plans to use her skills to help others find solutions to their problems.
“Because of Christel House, I’m in the best university in Mexico City—Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Christel House has provided me with opportunities to be a better student, a better psychologist and a better person,” she says. “When people tell me I’m successful, I think it is because I follow the four Christel House values—respect, responsibility, integrity and independence. For me, those are the basic rules to live a better life.” Your support of ‘Educate a Mexico Girl-Child from the Barrios’ is helping young girls and women, like Danika, reach their full potential. Thank you for helping these students get the education they need for a brighter future.
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.