Hello Readers! We are thrilled to introduce you to Chelsey, a CIS alumni and recent high school graduate. She has graciously agreed to talk with us about her experience with the program. I know you will be inspired, so without further ado…
When did you graduate from high school?
Technically, I graduated April 1, 2016, but I walked the stage June 5, 2016.
What are you doing now?
As of now, I am a full-time college student at UTA and a part-time worker at a pet daycare and resort.
Tell me a little bit about your life before getting involved with CIS.
Before CIS, I was a drug addict in an alternative school. I overdosed on drugs at school and got suspended as well as 60 days in alternative school. I didn’t clean up until well into my 60 days when I began regularly meeting with the alternative school counselor.
How did you first hear about CIS?
I first heard about CIS when I was almost done in the alternative school, and the counselor recommended I begin seeing multiple counselors at the public school when I got there.
When and why did you get involved with the program?
I got involved with the program at the end of October in 2015—my first day back in regular school.
What changed about your life when you started working with Amber?
When I started working with Amber, my life changed in so many ways. She was practically feeding me because she sent me home with food every night when my family started moving from hotel to hotel. Not only did she help me in that sense, but she also helped me with my state of mind when I got diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and stopped eating. She made sure that, after moving hotels for the 7th time, I always had a way to get to school when my parents wouldn’t take me. She also introduced me to some amazing people who have helped me get to where I am now. This includes Rachel, Lindsey, Lauren, James and Cathy Webb and so many others. As far as I’m concerned, Amber changed my life.
If you could talk to her right now, what would you say?
I actually talk to her all the time, but I’d love to say that everything would be so different right now if it weren’t for you and CIS. I wouldn’t be successful in college, work, staying clean or pretty much just generally a successful, good person. Thank you so much for everything you have done for me. You can really say you’ve changed the entire outcome of my life, and I will be forever grateful.
What advice do you have for students who are struggling right now?
Don’t let it be a terrible thing. Yes, I completely understand it’s hard right now, but now you know struggle, and you know you don’t want to live that way. You have to convince yourself and believe that it can’t and will not always be this way. You will make sure that it doesn’t happen. Grades are so important, and so are the people you surround yourself with. Also, make sure that you know your worth, because when you go through tough times you tend to blame yourself and have negative self-talk. It’s definitely not your fault. You are not less of a person just because you’re struggling. Take a breather. Everything has a way of working itself out!
What makes you excited about the future?
I’m excited about everything coming up in my future–speaking events with CIS, college events, my scholarship stuff, my future in business. I hope sometime in my future I can be the Amber to a Chelsey.
You are amazing, Chelsey! We’re so proud of you. Thanks for sharing what CIS has done to support you on your journey.