2019 was a year marked by change for Kadi Channell. After suffering an injury on the job as a nurse, she was ready to start the journey towards a new career, and she enrolled in courses at Olive-Harvey College focused in business administration as a first step. Just around the same time, her husband was getting ready for his fourth deployment as a sergeant in the U.S. Army – the first long deployment of their marriage.

“That first year was difficult,” Kadi recalled. “But Derek Tyson at the Veterans Services Center provided the support I needed to get through.”

In fact, Tyson was the first person Kadi connected with at Olive-Harvey. When deciding where she would go back to school, the college was the obvious choice, as it was closest to home for the Roseland resident. But she needed help getting started, so her husband, who had attended both Malcolm X College and Kennedy-King College, recommended she get in touch with the Veterans Services Center.

Kadi made an appointment with Tyson, officially beginning her City Colleges journey. Not only did he help her register for classes and refer her to other resources at the college like financial aid, but he checked in on her family, understanding that her husband was being deployed and she had four kids at home.

Tyson “went above and beyond,” according to Kadi, also connecting her to an opportunity to work with him at the Center through the federal work-study program. After suffering her injury, Kadi was told she’d never be able to work in a similar capacity again, but working with Tyson made her feel like she had the support she needed to excel – both on the job and in her classes.

“I felt useful; I felt needed,” she said. “I was able to put my skills to use.”

As a result, Kadi is able to provide similar support to other military-affiliated students. Through her work at the Veterans Services Center and as President of the Veteran’s Club on campus, her goal is to build awareness of the resources available to military-affiliated students, including military spouses and dependents like her. She wants to help them understand that they, too, have a community on campus and can access critical support and counseling as they take their next steps.

For Kadi, those next steps include transferring to Governors State University to continue her studies in business administration. She wants to help people from all walks of life understand how finances work so they can start and grow successful businesses. Kadi says that, thanks to the support she’s received from Tyson and the Veterans Services Center, she’s getting closer and closer to achieving that ambition.

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