Cheyenne is an amazing alumna of our Residential Treatment Program for teen mothers in the foster care system.
Cheyenne had a rough beginning. She came to St. Anne’s at age 16, seven months pregnant. She and her siblings had been removed by child welfare from their drug-addicted parents when Cheyenne was 1 year old. The children moved from placement to placement, sometimes together, sometimes apart, until they were all adopted by a couple. But the dream turned to a nightmare when Cheyenne’s adoptive parents abused her for six years. At age 13, she ran away and went back into foster care.
Despite this terrible beginning, Cheyenne was a typical teenager, attending Beverly Hills High, when she became pregnant and had to leave her foster home.
“I probably bawled my eyes out the first night at St. Anne’s,” Cheyenne admitted. But she decided to make the best of what St. Anne’s offered. She rode the bus to school every day, participated in counseling, worked at an internship in St. Anne’s cafeteria, and graduated from high school. Her daughter, Layla, thrived in our on-campus Early Learning Center.
When Cheyenne decided she wanted to go to college, specifically to a University of California campus, St. Anne’s staff helped her. But with a grade point average just .05 below the cutoff and no extracurricular activities, Cheyenne was denied admission. With help from our staff and her court-appointed advocate, Cheyenne appealed the denial. She was admitted to UC Riverside. “I was really lucky I had people in my corner,” Cheyenne reflected.
Cheyenne will graduate from UC Riverside in 2017 with a degree in political science. She is considering law school or becoming an advocate for foster youth.
Layla is 4. “St. Anne’s Early Learning Center was one of the best things that ever happened to Layla,” Cheyenne shared. “It set a great foundation for her.” And through St. Anne’s and her hard work, Cheyenne has built a great foundation for her family’s future.