By: Jill M., Student Advisor, Christel House Indianapolis, IN
Before I began providing full-time mental health and support services to students and families at Christel House Academy five years ago, I was in the building one day a week as part of a larger program serving twelve schools. I was drawn to both the staff and students of CHA and by the positive family atmosphere that encompasses the education experience. I did not see this atmosphere at other schools and was determined that this was a place where I could make a difference with kids and grow professionally and personally.
If I told the students what a positive influence they have had on my life, and how their stories and lives have helped shaped me into a better person, they would most likely laugh and tell me I am being such a “counselor.” But, their impact on me is both unavoidable and profound.
I love talking with students who have grown up through CHA and are now in our high school program. Many will be the first in their families to graduate from high school and definitely the first to attend college.
This year, I couldn’t hide my excitement when one student asked me to fill out a recommendation letter for a summer college prep program. This same student told me three years ago that she “wasn’t meant for college” and didn’t think it was right for her. I asked her to keep college in mind and talked with her about the programs and careers in which she would excel. Because of the academic attention and support of CHA, she has decided on her own that college is the right path for her.
Every day I step through CHA’s doors, I know I could witness and be a part of changing a student’s life and forever altering their future for the good. It is such a privilege!