(soft piano music) – I spent eight years working at a treatment facility
for at-risk teenage girls. I would teach girls how
to work in a kitchen. We would also go to the grocery store, and go shopping, and learn
how to read price tags. I started noticing that the
girls’ behaviors were changing when they were in the kitchen, when they were able to decide what they wanted to eat. Unfortunately, the USDA cut funding to that program, so we lost it. I saw a huge decline in their behaviors, and I was really frustrated. I had this idea in my head that I was gonna change how mental health for teenagers worked, that they were going to start addressing nutrition, but I didn’t really know how to do it. I decided to come back to school. It was one of those moments
where I was really scared ’cause I didn’t know if I was gonna do it. I was an abused child, removed myself from the home at 16, and placed myself in treatment. When you are raised in
an environment like that, you’re always waiting for the floor to drop out from underneath you. When I attended transfer orientation here at CSU, it kind of hit me that everything that I had gone through, my past, wasn’t going to
freak these people out. It wasn’t going to make them afraid of me or not want to talk to me. They were actually embracing
these different stories that everybody had, all this adversity that we had to overcome to get
where we were at that moment. It was like I had a community right there in that moment that I
knew I could rely on. All these incredible women
that I’ve encountered here at CSU just came
together to support me, and to guide me, and to provide me with the knowledge that
I was strong enough, that I was able to do all these things that I wanted to do. With the education that CSU gave me, I can walk back into a
residential treatment center as a registered dietician
and make a huge difference for all the other people that need that difference in their life. My name is Kali LeMaster, and I am a first generation student at the College of Health
and Human Sciences.