*In Chanel's own words
Hi, I'm Chanel. I was born in Bartow, Florida, and spent between the ages of 14 and 18 in the foster care system. At age 16, I became pregnant with my first child, and by age 18, I had dropped out of high school. By age 19, I was married and had two children from that relationship.
After the end of my first marriage, I started a relationship with a man who would become the father of my third child. Suddenly, he walked out of our lives just as easily as he walked in. While I was still pregnant with my youngest, I took a leap of faith and decided to move to Charleston, West Virginia.
Many people ask: why Charleston? Well, I sent out over 180 resumes for jobs across seven states - and I received six calls back from jobs located in Charleston, so here we are.
Terrified - but ambitious - I loaded up my children and we headed to Charleston. On our way, my car broke down in Savannah, Georgia, but somehow we still made it to our destination. With nowhere to live, my children and I stayed at the YWCA Charleston Sojourner's Shelter for Homeless Women & Families for about 3 months until we could find a place to call our own.
As life went on, I finally remarried. However, the man I married had an inappropriate aspect of what love and marriage are. I found myself staying at the YWCA Alicia McCormick Homes, and there I made every single moment of peace count. I started to love myself. I loved my children, and I loved my work. I finally bought a car. I attended CNA school. I finally gained employment as a CNA. I started working toward my dream of opening an assisted living facility.
Since leaving the YWCA Alicia McCormick Homes, I bought property for myself and my children, I upgraded my vehicle, and I will soon be enrolled in nursing school so that I continue to make my dream of owning and operating an assisted living facility a reality.