Success Story: Chaunsey Haynes
For some college was a foregone conclusion. “As a kid in the foster care system, I had no clue.”
No one in Chaunsey’s family had ever graduated from college. But during her senior year, she began to consider career options and realized she would need a degree. With support from her foster family, she applied to schools and chose Upper Iowa University. The Education and Training Voucher Program, two awards from Dollars for Scholars and a presidential scholarship from Upper Iowa all helped cover her tuition costs. “When I got my award letter, I was just amazed that all my financial aid amounted to a full ride,” Chaunsey says. “I couldn’t believe there was nothing I had to pay back.”
After graduating with a double major in psychology and human services, she received ETV funds for both undergraduate and graduate studies. She’s now in a two-year master’s program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, with an emphasis on marriage and family counseling.
“My own experience is a motivator,” Chaunsey says. When she entered the foster care system at age 12, she was separated from three of her four sisters. “I want to help families so things like that don’t have to happen,” she says. “If there are preventive steps that can be taken, I want to help them take those steps.”
Chaunsey is also motivated by a desire to inspire her younger sisters. “Our family didn’t go down the best path,” she says. “I’m afraid my sisters will think, ‘This is the road we’re destined to go down.’ I want to show them that just because the odds are against you, that doesn’t mean you can’t figure it out. Your situation doesn’t define you.”