Nanette Chacon, studying Clinical Counseling, is a LatPro Scholarship Finalist

[T]hroughout my life, I have always tried to set my goals and aspirations high. Although my career choice has changed from what I aspired to be as a child, I have always known I wanted a career where I felt like I was making a difference. I realized the importance of helping people early in life. Since no one in my family has graduated from college, I decided at a young age I wanted to break that cycle. At the age of 20, my life changed forever with the events surrounding the birth of my daughter. 

She was born 5 ½ weeks early with a rare terminal disorder that was not discovered until after her birth. She lived for nine days until I had her baptized and taken off life support. I sat with her for seven hours until she passed away in my arms. I would never have been able to make it through such a traumatic time period in my life if there had not been a neonatal grief counselor with me every step of the way. That experience changed my life in so many ways, including the career path I believe I am supposed to be going down. I am currently only four classes away from achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. I want my children to see just how important education is. Knowledge is power. Education is the one thing in life that no one can take away. 

The traumatic experience I went through with the loss of my daughter taught me so many things. In many ways, I believe she saved me. She gave me a new outlook on life and helped me realize just how precious life is. It is important to live each day to the fullest and help as many people as possible. My daughter’s death made me realize just how important a grief counselor is.

I have already applied to the Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling program for the 2013-2014 school year at the University of Phoenix. Upon graduation, I am going to pursue a career as a grief counselor. My ultimate goal is to work in close relationship with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a respectable hospital to support families who experience similar misfortunes. 

Throughout my educational journey, I have faced many obstacles that I have had to overcome. I grew up in a family where college was not important. When I graduate I will be the first one in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and I will be doing so with honors. I will not stop there. I have chosen to pursue graduate school. I have had to overcome the overwhelming grief that came with the loss of my daughter. I chose to use that grief to push me to succeed rather than letting the grief consume me. The financial obstacle of raising three young children, working full-time and attending college full-time has been a difficult to overcome but with hard work and perseverance, I have succeeded.’s scholarship program is proud to announce Nanette Chacon as one of the finalists for its December 2012 application deadline. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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  • I am so proud of you!! You are an exceptional woman and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this than you. Good luck!!

  • You are an inspiration and will make a fantastic grief counselor…..Those grief stricken people will he lucky to have you on their side!!

  • Nanette, you have made such a life for yourself and your family. Because you have strong faith and commitment, you will continue to achieve. Your family, friends, and future clients will be better for having you.

  • You have always had such a caring heart. I remember when my father passed, you helped me through. I still have the sweet letter that you wrote. We were kids. I think you have chosen a great path. May God bless.

    • I remember that! I can’t believe you still have that letter after all these years. How old were we? I think we had to of been what 10 years old? My heart ached for you and I just wanted to help in any way I could. I’m glad the letter touched you enough to keep it all these years. As a child it was the only thing I could do to try and help you.

  • You are an inspiration to Moms everywhere, not only to raise children while working and going to school, but also to know that if we as a mother are ever sitting in a NICU somewhere(as I have) staring at your child struggling for life, we know that it is not the end for us. I would have loved to have you at my side as I watched my son, who was born at 29 weeks, weighing 3lbs, struggle to breath and digest, and grow. You will be a counsler that women like me will never forget in their lives! Good luck, you deserve to win!

  • Nanette is a very hard working individual. She works and goes to school full, along with being a full time mom. She has always set her goals high and when she sets her eyes on something nothing can stop her. Nanette is a very caring person that will make a difference in the world.

  • You have my vote. I am also working being a mom and going to school and you know what it’s hard! I only go part time and that’s hard enough. Go you!! I’m sorry about your loss but I find it wonderful that she gave you a direction.

    • Thank you…yes it is definitely a challenge going to school full time and working full time with three little ones but it is so worth it in the end! Keep pushing yourself and you will succeed! It won’t always be easy but you can do it! I agree with you about Gaby, my daughter. She saved me..I was a different person before her. I am so thankful for those 9 days I had with her.

  • Nanette, it is an inspiration to see how your journey has shaped you into a strong, determined and assiduous woman. No trial is without its challenges, but your choices shape who you are. You are most certainly a warrior. I certainly hope you are awarded this scholarship, because you clearly deserve it!

  • I loved the essay. I remember that day. You have grown to be an exceptional woman and a sister who amazes me everyday. I am so very proud of you. I really hope you get this scholarship you really deserve it.

  • Nanette is such a dedicated person. She strives to do the best at what she does, regardless of how long it takes or how difficult the journey. She has a very caring personality, and she can both give and receive motivational feedback easily. Her struggles through life have made her the strong person she is and can do well to pass that strength on to others.

  • What an amazing counselor she would be having been through such a traumatic experience. I too have lost a child, and I feel as though only mothers who have lost a child know what I am feeling.

  • Wow! What a touching story – you are an inspiration. Your son is so lucky to have role models in his life who value education as much as you do. Thanks for sharing and best of luck to you! My vote is for Nanette!

  • Nanette is a pleasure to be around , always with a kind word , a smile, and compassion for others.these are all necessary fundamentals to change peoples lives in a positive manner. Therefore Nanette would be the right recipient for this scholarship.

  • Such a touching story! I think its amazing you are striving to be someone who can help others that will go through similiar things that you have. Best of luck to you in everything you do!

  • Nanette you have been a strong inspiration throughout my education and continue to not only impress but also motivate me. It has been a privilege
    taking this journey with you. Good luck “Go Get Em”

  • I’m currently enrolled in the Clinical Mental Health Program at UofP. not sure if its the same program you’re trying to get into, but if so then you’ll absolutely love it! Best of luck to you, keep pursuing your dreams 🙂

  • This is a well written essay, filled with truth, sorrow, joy, courage, strength, and love. Children are wonderful inspirational teachers. In fact, my daughter inspired me to return to college. I earned my MBA and she earned her BS. We graduated together from UOP on the same day. You have already won. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey.

  • Such an amazing story of an amazing woman!!! You have come so far and you definitely deserve this scholarship. I know you would be an exceptional grief counselor. Good luck!!! My fingers are crossed!!!!

  • Nanette…first off thank you for sharing such a touching, deep, sincere, and among other things such a hard “trying” time in ur life. I cant even begin to imagine what that experience was like for u to have to go through and im very sorry u had to experience that. I have always said things happen for a reason whether it be good or bad as there is always something we learn and take away from every experience. God has a plan for each and everyone of us and ive always said to you even dating back to when i first met u 15 yrs ago that you are a special person with a gift. I believe you are that person that has an “IT” factor; a person that can truly make a difference for someone else and i think you are completely on the right track. I could go on forever but all i will say is keep doing what ur doing. Great things are going to happen for u and nothing but the best of luck and success; you dont deserve anything less…your friend always…chris

  • what you are doing is amazing.. sayins that, ive been through something so similar. my daughter was born 3 months early and passed when she was 2 months old. they never gave me a final reason as to what happened, and i too held my daughter til she passed. and i never had a grief counselor but it would have been comforting because sometimes i still struggle a bit. you are an inspiration and i hope that you succeed and become a counselor because you are very much needed in peoples lives. good luck!

  • Nanette – I have always regarded you as a strong woman. You have always shown great determination and perseverance in the face of life’s trials and struggles. Each crossroad, you have proven to maintain great fortitude with a gentle hopefulness that brings you through each struggle. That positivity is a quality that the people in your life find admirable and inspiring. I am touched by your witnessing of such a difficult story to share. You have shown me great courage and I am a better person for having the privilege of calling you my friend.

  • Nanette, I have always regarded you as a strong woman. You have always shown great determination and perseverance in the face of life’s trials and struggles. Each crossroad, you have proven to maintain great fortitude with a gentle hopefulness that brings you through each struggle. That positivity is a quality that the people in your life find admirable and inspiring. I am touched by your witnessing of such a difficult story to share. You have shown me great courage and I am a better person for having the privilege of calling you my friend.

    • Thank you for your kind words. You are right, I do not share the story of Gaby very often but in this circumstance I felt it was necessary. It was hard writing the essay to submit and then realizing it would be read by so many was also difficult especially knowing it is right around her birthday and angel day. It was important though to give credit where it is due. It is because of her that I realized just how important a counselor specializing in grief really is. So many people become consumed by their grief because they did not have a grief counselor there to help them like I did. It is definitely a hard career to choose because death is sad but people need someone to be there to help them work through their grief. I want to give to others what was given to me.

  • Wow!! What a GREAT essay. Nanette has always been an inspiration to everyone. I am very greatful to have her as a friend. She and her family deserve it all. Good luck Nanette hope you make it 🙂

  • Wow, I have never known anyone who deserved a scholarship more. Nanette is an inspiration to academia at large. Who knows what great works and/or discoveries will be lost if Nanette doesn’t win. Makes me shudder to think of the consequences to the future of humanity if Nanette gives up now. Give her the scholarship!

  • So true and inspiring…Much deserved and much needed so you can be there to impact the other parents on their grief journey in that lovely club we all do not choose to be in…but become in sometimes in only an instance. Good luck!

  • After reading this, I respect and admire you more. You and your family definetly deserve this. You will be an amazing counseler.

  • If anyone can do it, you can. A heart as big and as resiliant as yours has the strength to do this type of work. Keep going – nothing will be able to stop you.

  • Nanette is a very hard working woman with and incredible love for life! She is a wonderful mother and always puts the needs of others ahead of herself. If anyone is truly deserving of the opportunity Nanette is that person!

  • I have known her family since her birth and watched her develop into a loving and mature person. I know she will go on to be successful and will be an important part in the lives of many people

  • Nanette, what a moving story which shows your strength, compassion and motivation. You are going to be a great counselor & I hope you win this scholarship!

  • Congratulations Nanette! I truly wish you touch the lives of those you come in contact with. Counselors are important elements to the psychological and emotional support of those who are not able to move forward in their lives. I know because I too had the help of a wonderful counselor who showed me the tools to break free from my traumatizing past of isolation and continuous judgemental environment. I also hope that you keep God close throughout your career objectives. There’s no better counselor than him. Working with him will empower you to heal and lead people to the right path. Wishing you the best, and congratulations once again. Sincerely, Concepcion Torres.