If you examined Ieshia Champs’ past, it would seem that she has defied all odds in order to achieve her dreams.
The 33-year-old and single mother of five from Port-Arthur, Texas has not had an easy life — as a child, she was swapped between family homes and was eventually placed in the foster care system.
At 7 years old, Champs and her siblings were living in a “drug-filled environment” where they lived with their mother — which was normal in their neighborhood. Child Protective Services caseworker Gail Covington took the children out of the chaos.
“I’ll never forget it. I cried so hard because I missed my familiar surroundings, even though they were horrible,” Champs told Yahoo Lifestyle. “And one day, I woke up in time for school. I actually had a bed to sleep in, and we had brand-new clothes on the floor. It was then that I realized that my friends had no idea about this type of life.”
During this time, Champs was encouraged by teachers to become a lawyer to provide similar services to other children in horrible situations. After she was adopted by her uncle, she ended up in the same apartment as her mother again and things started going south.
“We really didn’t have much guidance. My sister ended up having her first baby at 14,” Champs said. “I ended up dropping out of school my 10th- or 11th-grade year, and I ran across my kid’s father. We ended up having our first child, and then we had a second. And it just kept going.”
She was pregnant with her fourth child when her sister brought her to a church service at the Ministers for Christ Christian Center in Houston, Texas where she met Bishop Richard and Louise Holman — who Champs now calls dad and mom. During one service, Champs recalls the prophetess calling up all the single mothers and giving them information about their futures.
She told Champs that God wanted her to go back to school and follow her dream to become a lawyer, something Champs had never shared with the Holmans.
“She told me that God would take care of me,” Champs said. “During that same year — it was 2009 — I ended up having a house fire, I lost everything that I had. I got laid off from my job, the father to two of my children died of cancer while I was seven months pregnant, I literally tried to kill myself, and I ended up going back to get my GED.”
After receiving her associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree, Champs went on to attend Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University. She will be graduating in May, and gives credit to her children as well as her faith for making it possible for her to receive her Juris Doctor degree.
Her 14-year-old son, according to Champs, has been key in taking care of his siblings so that their mom could focus on her studies. In order to honor her children’s help in her education, she included them in her graduation pictures taken by Richard.
Once she passes the bar exam, Champs wants to become a general attorney with a specialization in family and juvenile law, and then go on to become a judge.
“I feel like with what I’ve been through as a child and in my upbringing, I can probably help some of these juveniles who may feel like there’s no hope for them,” Champs said.
“I want to be the one to fight for those children who are in these horrible living arrangements. To try to help them reconcile with the family, or if not, give them the same opportunity that I had.”
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