Despite her own hardships, teen gives back to others

August 5, 2019
Chloe Blanchette is surprising everyone, including herself. “There’s been a lot of times where I’ve just sat back and been like, ‘How did I get here?’” Chloe said. The 17-year-old has seen too much and lost too much. She was raised by her grandparents after her parents were unable to take care of her. But at the age of 11, Chloe watched as both of her grandparents battled a meth addiction. They lost their house and moved into a trailer park riddled with drugs, violence and abuse. Chloe often went days without food or proper shelter. “I didn’t accept it, but I just realized that it could make me stronger,” she said. “I could either take it and be like, ‘Oh poor me’ and end up just like them and do all the drugs and everything. Or I could take it and be where I am now.” During the days of darkness, Chloe sought to bring light to her community. She turned pieces of yarn into friendship bracelets and would give them out to people she described as “in need.” “It was the only thing I could do, so whenever I’d see people who looked like they were down or needed a little bit of an extra push or smile, I’d give them a bracelet,” she said. “And that made me feel really good. Even if it’s not big, it made me feel good knowing that I was doing something.” After bouncing from house to house and school to school, Chloe enrolled at Albert Powell Continuation High. “My life changed so much when I came to Albert Powell,” she said. “I feel like a different person in a sense. I think I’m not the typical kid to come to a continuation school because I don’t have a bad school history. I didn’t get in fights. I didn’t skip a bunch of class. I purely came here because I wanted to come here so I could graduate early.” Albert Powell High Principal Jennifer Cates initially thought Chloe might not be the best fit for the school given that she was not off track. But she quickly changed her mind. “I probably would have said no on paper,” Cates said. “‘You don’t need us. You’re doing OK. There’s others who could probably benefit from being here before you are.’ But I could just tell that she needed us. And ironically, I think we needed her as well.” When Chloe was not in class, she spent time running the school’s clothing closet, a place for students to grab clothes, hygiene products and school supplies. She said she saw it as a way to give back to those in need. “I think that I’m not super selfish because I have been in multiple positions where I haven’t had anything or I’ve needed something,” Chloe said. “So I guess I acknowledge that there are other kids that don’t have things or other people that don’t have things or need things.” In June, Chloe fulfilled her goal of cramming two years of school into one and graduated from Albert Powell Continuation High. It was quite the accomplishment for a young woman who lost so much at such a young age. But, then again, this is only the beginning for Chloe. “She doesn’t go around saying, ‘Well, all these terrible things have happened in my life’ and use them as an excuse,” Albert Powell High teacher Jillian Damon said. “She’s actually used it, I think, as a way to fuel her and give her passion to do something more, to do something great. … And she knows ‘I’m going to break this cycle. I’m not going carry this on. This stops with me. I’m moving ahead. And who’s coming with me?’”
Chloe Blanchette was raised by her grandparents, who battled a meth addiction that resulted in her being neglected. In spite of her own hardships, Chloe has found ways to give back to those in need, including running her school’s clothes closet.
Chloe Blanchette graduated from Albert Powell Continuation High School in the Yuba City School District.

© 2019 Association of California School Administrators