Nia Hill wants you to know that the West Side of Chicago has great people who do great things. Born and raised in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood, she also understands first-hand the barriers that residents in these systemically marginalized communities face.
“A quick Google search tells you what you want to know,” said Nia on where she grew up, noting the prevalence of violence and poverty caused by institutional racism.
Nia’s family experienced homelessness when she was in high school after losing their Section 8 voucher. They “bounced around a lot” – staying with an aunt, people from church, and hotels before eventually settling into stable housing.
“It was a humbling experience,” she recalls, “learning how to do without a place you would normally consider home.”
Six first-year college students won scholarships awarded by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) in June. They hail from Chicago, Evanston, and West Chicago and will attend universities in Illinois and Washington, D.C.
Launched in 2004, CCH’s scholarship program provides up to five years of financial support as students work towards a college degree. Twenty-four students will receive scholarships during the 2023 – 24 school year. They include six first-years, six sophomores, seven juniors, and five seniors. They are attending colleges and universities in California, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.
Mayra Fajardo recently graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She earned a double major in psychology and criminology/law, with a double minor in history and Spanish. Having navigated high school and college as an unaccompanied student, Mayra is passionate about using her skills and experiences to help others.
Born and raised in Chicago, Mayra moved with her family to Ecuador at 15. A year later, she made the difficult decision to return to Chicago alone to pursue better educational opportunities. Her goal? To provide hope and support for her mother and younger sister.
Six Chicago area high school graduates have won a CCH college scholarship to support them in their higher education journeys. They were celebrated at a luncheon with CCH staff, selection committee members, and limited guests on July 28.
CCH’s annual award of $3,500 is renewable for up to five years as students work to complete a bachelor’s or associate degree. All first-year winners also received new laptops, made possible with a grant from long-time partner, The Osa Foundation.
Twenty undergraduate students will be supported by the CCH college scholarship program during the 2022 – 2023 school year, including six first-years, six sophomores, three juniors, and five seniors. They are attending colleges and universities in California, Illinois, Georgia, Missouri, and Wisconsin, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Georgia and Washington, D.C.
We are grateful for the strong coalition of people with lived experience, community members, direct-service and advocacy organizations, institutional partners, donors, and volunteers who are working every single day to prevent and end homelessness.
Daihana Estrada, a recent graduate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, is no stranger to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. In fact, she has been involved with CCH for more than a decade, as a scholarship winner, an intern, an advocate, and a member of the scholarship selection committee.
She also recently raised $1,890 for CCH through an online fundraiser, garnering support from 65 people from around the world.
Today, Daihana is a first-year attorney, working as a judicial law clerk in Minnesota. Hers is a journey more than 12 years in the making.
By Sophie Babcock, Associate Board Co-Vice President, Events
Do you have a talent or fun skill you’re proud of? Or know someone in your network who does? We are now recruiting participants for the CCH Associate Board’s second annual virtual Variety Show on Thursday, December 16 starting at 7 p.m.
Whether you are a singer, dancer, musician, comic, or just someone who loves to take on a fundraising challenge, we invite you to participate! Last year’s show featured talents ranging from pie-eating to juggling, so please don’t be shy and feel free to think outside of the box.