Chausii Roberson promised her college-enrolled daughter, Jiara Love, that if she worked hard and got good grades, she would "take care of the rest." And by "the rest," Roberson means an estimated tuition of $34,000 — a steep number for a single mother of four.
“I was in the streets and I didn’t know any better and there was nobody to really show me better," Roberson recently told Jet's Kyra Kyles. "I never got the opportunity to go to college and I want to make sure that she does.”
“I want her life to be different," she added, noting that a few days earlier, her 21-year-old son had been sentenced to prison for four years. “I’m going through it right now.”
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To make good on her ambitious promise to Love, a freshman at Howard University, Roberson performs an inspiring juggling act.
The 42-year-old's wages as a daycare worker are not enough to sustain her daughter's enrollment in the HBCU's business program, so she braves the brutal Chicago winter hawking packaged snacks and candy outside of a local middle school every few days a week, according to Jet.
“I make $20 here, $30 there,” explained Roberson. “It’s not a lot of money I know, but every little bit helps.”
Donations from Howard alumni and other well-meaning supporters have also helped to cover crucial expenses, including a travel cost so that Love could return home last Christmas and the professional attire required by the HBCU's business program.
“They call me the ‘Howard University’ mom,” said Roberson. “They look out for us.”
Most recently, the Howard University Alumni Club of Chicago partnered up with Roberson to create a GoFundMe campaign as yet another means to ensure that she keeps her motherly vow to her 18-year-old daughter. Since its launch six days ago, 37 donors have contributed $1,353.
“Sometimes Jiara calls me so worried asking how we will afford her next semester,” Roberson told Jet with a sad smile. “I always tell her that I will handle that. I say, 'Baby, focus on your studies. I got the rest.’”
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(Photo: Keep Jiara Lov at HU via GoFundMe.com)