Cheyanne – 2015 Employee of the Year Award Winner

November 14, 2019 0 By Kody Olson


When my mom went to jail when I was six
months old, it was for stealing diapers for me. My dad, he’s never lived with
us, because he had drug addictions and he was a drug dealer. My two older
sisters have dappled in dope. The second to oldest, I know, she was doing a lot of
painkillers or muscle relaxers. My mom, I had found needles. I would find, like, bags
with, like, spoons and needles and this and that, and I would throw it away and my
mom would, like, wreck the house and blame my older sister but it was me, and I
wanted her to tell me like, “Did you take my stuff?” and I’d be like, “What stuff?” like
I wanted her ask me like, “Did you take it?” because I wanted her to admit to me what
she was hiding, cuz she took me from a stable home with my grandma and moved me
in with her. I have no idea what would have happened to me without my grandma. I
feel like in such a crazy family I’m the black sheep because I’m the least crazy.
I’m the only one that was raised by her. Moving from my grandma was, like, really
hard, but only because it wasn’t even planned. I was at school during lunch and
I came in from lunch and the intercom said, “Cheyenne Torres please report to
the principal’s office,” and I went to the principal’s office, and it was my mom
with a greyhound ticket for me. We didn’t go back to my house to say bye to my
grandma, we didn’t go pack clothes, and my grandma thought was, like, taken from
school that day. So I became numb to the fact that I was taking from my
grandma and I never got to tell her, like, you know, “you did save my life.”
My grandmother was pretty disappointed in me when I became pregnant at a
young age because I was the only one on track. And I was like, “Well I disappointed
you, but, like, I’m not just gonna be one to say I’m gonna show you I can do it.” I
went to this place called Homeless Prenatal Program. They would give me
things like diapers and they gave me a crib and any other, you know, odds and
ends that you need they try to help you. I had expressed then that I wanted to go
back to school, but that school was just… they kind of throw you in there and
and tell you, you know figure out what you want to do with your life and then do it,
and we’ll give you the degree to show for it, but it’s like what if you don’t know
what you want to do. She told me, she’s like, “Well JVS, they have a health bridge
program.” The goal of the healthcare bridge program is to expose our students
to array of programs and next steps in the healthcare field. First they put me
through a series of classes that most health majors need you to have, like
healthcare terminology and basic math and basic English, and they helped me get
through those. Cheyenne’s biggest barriers were probably her lack of
confidence in school and the fact that she was a young mom. She didn’t have good
experience with math and that was a big prereq for any healthcare related next step. They get you in, but they help you through it, and they also got me day care
for my daughter, while I was in school but JVS got it for me because they’re
like if we’re gonna put you through school you’re gonna need daycare and so
any little thing that I, any problem I had, they would help me with it. After the
healthcare bridge program at JVS, we recommended Cheyenne do the certified
nursing assistant program at Aruba Juntas. Now I work for the Institute on
Aging. I do home care. I go to them and I bring them the care that I can provide
that they need. I think JVS really shaped Cheyenne’s future. Not only did it show
her the fundamentals of learning, how to study, it created a support for her.
It gave her the framework in which she can really build a future, and I think
that’s something that’s very different from other programs. Cheyenne not only
got the support while she was in their program, she’s continued to receive their
support and their guidance and I think that’s been essential to her success
here at the Institute on Aging. I hope I’m a good role model for Onyx. I hope she sees me, sees somebody that can work wherever she wants to, because I do
feel like no matter how I look, and no matter where I’m from, I can get
into anything I do want to get into. In 20 years from now, I still see myself
doing things that are helping people because I’ve been helped so much and I
feel like being a part of JVS has definitely let me be able to give this
resource to somebody else. So I want to be somebody who has
kind of been through it all so I can help people who are going through it all.