Ciera Dantzler, 23, spent 18 years in Illinois’ Child Welfare system.

Ciera experienced two different placements, but both were kinship homes, with the second one having legal guardianship until she aged out of care. 

Ciera has earned a plethora of awards. Starting in August 2012, she had earned the Rowe Clark Math & Science Academy’s Lady Award and Most Community Service Award. In August 2013, she earned the RCMSA Top Ten Award, followed by displaying a high GPA in June 2014. In August of 2016, Ciera earned the University of Illinois at Springfield Creative Expression Award. Lastly, in August 2017 and April 2018, she earned the University of Illinois at Springfield National Leadership and Success Award.

Supporting the people in her community Ciera worked with the less fortunate by greeting them with two packed lunches, flu shots, and health exams. She ended up with 400 community service hours. Ciera has tutored students after school at YMCA’s Kelly Hall in Chicago. In high school, she had been part of the National Honors Society which has helped her to be a great tutor and leader. In college, she is part of the UIS chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, a society used to help discover and achieve goals in one’s life. Ciera is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., in which the mission is to serve the black community. This year, her group had served the homeless at a shelter in the community. She has now created her own dance team on campus, where she is the founder and president, called the Royal Starettes Majorette Team.

One of Ciera’s educational goals is to participate in the Spring Commencement at the University of Illinois at Springfield with her Bachelor's in Social Work. She also aims to be in the top 30% of her graduating class, with a 3.75 GPA or higher. She wants to have a Child Advocacy Studies certificate from the CAST program. She aspires to attend graduate school and get her Master's in Social Work. She would like for this to result in her planning and studying to have a licensed in Clinical Social Work and start her own business. Ciera hopes to find a job or paid internship within the state of Illinois to create a better Child Welfare system.

She wants to change the world for the better and make it possible for other people to have opportunities.