Chyanne is a current member of the Heart of Oregon AmeriCorps crew in Prineville. Before entering the program, Chyanne was a prime example of what we call “opportunity youth,” a population disengaged from both school and work. With no job and no plans for college, Chyanne was slipping into a stagnant and disheartened state. In her own words, she “just sort of lost interest in doing anything, ever.” Like many of our young people, Chyanne did not have the guidance, opportunity, or drive to take the next step into college or a job. For her, the program was those small, transitional steps that included getting some work experience and learning about her options for college. She shares, “some people can take huge steps straight into college, straight into the workforce, and that wasn’t something I was ready for yet.”
While Chyanne might not have believed in herself, a long time family friend and youth advocate saw her potential and suggested she apply at Heart of Oregon Corps. This brave decision that has since positively transformed her life in meaningful ways. In our program she passed her first college course, and is now determined to get her degree, expressing interest in genetic biology. She’s on track to graduate AmeriCorps with a $2,822 college scholarship and a credit under her belt. Chyanne shared, “I’ve figured out through this program I can really push myself. The program has changed my life, made me a lot more motivated, and is exactly what I needed.” The indifferent young woman who first started our program is now well-spoken, confident, motivated, and truly excited about her future. Some of the job training skills she learned with us like running a chainsaw, forklift training, and building fence helped her prove to herself that she was capable of doing anything. And we know she is.