Christa, of Minnesota, was nine years old, on Christmas Eve, when she and her sister were torn away from their mother and taken to a home for children. In four different placements in 6 months, they finally got a kinship placement with their grandmother that lasted one year and a half. Because of illness, they were once again bounced between maternal relatives and paternal ones. An uncle took guardianship for three and a half years. Because of neglect by the uncle, Christa and her sister removed themselves from kincare and re-entered the system. The next (and last) placement was with another aunt and uncle. Adjusting to them and their house rules was very difficult. Her aunt made Christa accountable for school attendance and grades, but she was also her biggest supporter. A change was coming for Christa, gradual, at first. She began to focus on school as her top priority and worked hard, went to class, and asked for help when she needed it. Then she saw results: great results. And she loved it! The placement with her aunt and uncle gave focus to her future and provided the stability and routine that Christa needed to develop into a responsible adult. Her college GPA is 3.5 and all three semesters at Augsburg College, she has been on the Dean’s List. At the end of the current semester, she will be nineteen years old and a senior in college. She recently received a $5000 study-abroad competitive scholarship. Christa says, “I know that I would not be where I am today had I not lived with my aunt in her house for those 4 years of my life.” When she is not studying, Christa participates in many activites. She is in the Emerging Leaders Program at college, and, as a Native American, was secretary for Augsburg Indigenous Student Association. She has been an election judge for Anoka County, volunteers for the Campus Kitchen to provide meals for homeless shelters, elderly, low income and disabled individuals, and she is a volunteer note taker for the Learning and Adaptive Student Services Office at her college. Christa’s main interests are politics, law and contemporary issues that affect Native Americans. Her ultimate career goal is to be a tribal lawyer and work either with non-profits or Native owned/operated casinos across the country.
Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2011 Outstanding Young Leaders