“I am especially grateful for being funded by CHS because I am adopted and I felt really moved knowing there is an entire organization devoted to helping children who come from a similar background like me. It makes me feel supported and loved knowing there are other people who are able to get help because CHS is there as a backbone of support.”

Sephora Zephyr is a graduate of Evans High School, c/o 2020. Sephora will be attending University of Florida studying Public Health/Biology.

Sephora Zephyr, a recent graduate of Evans High School, A Community Partnership School shares that she finds comfort “hiding in her shell” – but she has worked hard to come out of that shell and hopes to inspire others to do so, too.

A determined student, Sephora was accepted into International Baccalaureate Program and remained in it throughout high school. Though she describes high school as rigorous, she felt supported by the Hub, which is the center of the Community Partnership SchoolsTM model at Evans. There, she was encouraged to join new clubs and meet new people – something she previously avoided.

Through the support at the Hub, Sephora conquered challenges and found opportunities to shine. .

“I really appreciate the Hub at our school. They offer you support, they give you food, they will give you clothing … knowing there is something like that available to everyone at my school makes me feel good. I am leaving high school knowing everyone has this support and they can find it in their own school.”

Sephora joined the school’s Student Leadership Council, where she was introduced to Children’s Home Society of Florida. Sephora describes CHS as “an organization that touches my heart, especially given my background as an adopted child.”  Knowing this organization is devoted to building bridges to success for children inspires Sephora to become a voice in her community and to empower others to feel supported and loved.

Learning she won the Virginia Morey Rell Memorial Scholarship was a moment of shock and bewilderment. “CHS thinks I’m worthy and sees potential in me. I was grateful for that, and it inspired me and motivated me to apply for other scholarships as well,” she says.

Ready to pursue her next journey, Sephora looks forward to attending the University of Florida in the fall, with an ultimate goal of completing medical school; she’s interested in both dermatology and orthodontics.

Sephora hopes to be part of creating a more welcoming, understanding world for the next generation, especially when it comes to behavioral health and the stigma surrounding counseling and seeking help.

“I feel like our world can use a lot more empathy. We are unable to see each other eye to eye – maybe we need more counseling. Many people, young people in my generation are dealing with depression. Offering more counseling and normalizing the idea of counseling would help them to feel supported, loved and give them assurance. I want others to get out of their shells and feel more comfortable speaking about their troubles, feelings – everyone should be able to get the help they need and deserve.