Chantelle, 2014 Christel House Academy Grad
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