Hannah Cave

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When students start at UIS, they don’t know what those next four years will be like. By graduation day, they have advice to give, stories to tell, and memories to share.

Recent UIS graduate Hannah Cave grew up in a house full of activity and diversity. Her parents started fostering kids when she was toddler. “Our greatest household size was eight at a time,” she says. Five foster kids, plus Hannah and her parents.

Hannah Cave

More than 70 foster kids made their way through Hannah’s home as she was growing up. She witnessed up close the failures of the foster system and the struggles of everyone involved in it.

It was witnessing the failings of the system that deterred her from studying social work at UIS.

She watched a lot of kids being removed from her house because their parents were permitted to take them back. Sometimes kids would return again months later.

“Instability becomes a way of life,” she says.

Foster kids often struggle with feeling wanted and loved, safe and secure.

Hannah Cave
When Timothy Killeen (center) took over as president of the University of Illinois system, he visited UIS and met with student leaders, including Hannah (at right).

hannah cave

She remembers how older teens that had been in the system for years would come in and disrupt the family equilibrium, creating a volatile environment. It shaped her personal development a great deal; she needs to be in control of her situation.

Hannah Cave

She came to UIS because she wanted a place that could become her home—a small campus where she could become involved and make a difference.

Hannah Cave

She paid her own way through college. She worked as a resident advisor, and was selected as the Student Trustee to the Board of Trustees. Now she’s heading on to graduate school with plans to work in student affairs.