At 18, Chyna was still in high school when she had her first son. “When he kept getting sick, I dropped out,” she says. “I just accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to do much with my life, that I wasn’t going to finish school like my mom even though I had potential.”
Two years later, Chyna’s second son was born. And that finish line seemed to fade even further away.
That’s why it brought Chyna so much pride this spring to call herself a student again: a college student.
Chyna’s journey back to education started when she saw an ad for Climb at the local Department of Family Services office. Climb was offering a brand-new GED prep and testing program. Climb developed the training when Cheyenne’s Wyoming Family Literacy Program closed, shutting down a critical resource for people looking to earn a GED.
At Climb, Chyna admits there were times when it was hard. “I got down on myself, saying, ‘Why would I do this, I should just give up,’ but the team was so supportive and could see when I was losing faith and would pull me up.”
“I remember getting my GED test results and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh! I passed on the first try! I’m smarter than I thought I was.’ It was such a relief. I was so proud of myself.”
Once Chyna passed her test, Climb staff helped guide her to her next goal: college. “They went with me to look at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Cheyenne,” Chyna says of Climb’s support. “They helped make sure my paperwork was filed correctly. It was great. Otherwise I would have been trying to figure it out on my own. I know they’re always there to help.”
Chyna will take classes at LCCC while also working, with her ultimate goal to get a degree in psychology. “I look forward to making more than minimum wage and giving my kids everything they deserve that I never had.”