Krysten Counts was a nurturer before she was a teenager, helping children like herself cope with parents battling addiction at Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.
“That made a huge impact on me,” she said. “My goal is to start my own similar business directly related to helping kids who have either been abused, are homeless or have parents who are addicts.
“I want to create some type of safe haven for them and give them opportunities to experience what most people consider a normal childhood.”
Starting with Boise State’s Online Bachelor of Business Administration
The first step toward achieving that goal was graduating with Boise State University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management in May 2023. Counts majored in social work and elementary education before finding her business niche.
“There wasn’t as much freedom to approach it in a way I felt was calling me with my first two majors,” she said. “Business management worked out well for me. If you own your own business, you can approach it how you want.”
The ability to fit school around her busy schedule was also key for Counts, who worked three jobs when she enrolled.
“My life got a little bit hectic after COVID-19,” she said. “It was best for me to be able to complete my studies on my own. I am quite an independent person, because I have had to grow to be that way. I loved the online program and its flexibility.”
Growing Up Fast
Counts is from Butte, Montana, but she moved to Boise when she was nine. She came to Boise Rescue Mission Ministries as a child from a split family plagued by alcohol addiction, drug addiction and abuse.
“They hired me three years later to help kids in similar situations as me,” she said. “It was definitely challenging, but in the end, it’s humbling to know I was not the only one who went through hardships.
“It’s important for younger individuals to see that your circumstances don’t define you. Your parents’ decisions don’t define you. You’re your own person.”
The business degree has already paid dividends, thanks to the capstone project that Counts completed with her former employer as the centerpiece.
“I went in-depth, creating a project that could help improve its children’s program, along with implementing another program for some of the women and men who live in the shelters,” she said. “I proposed it to Boise Rescue Mission Ministries.”
After graduating from Boise State, Counts moved to Prescott, Arizona, to help her sister, Brittney Larson, care for their grandmother. She isn’t sure if she will stay in Arizona or someday return to Idaho.
“Things are on hold with starting the business,” she said. “It’s on pause, but I am still taking care of people, which is what I ultimately want to do. This degree will help me start my own business when the time comes.”
Counts had a contingent of family members on hand to see her walk the graduation stage at commencement earlier this year at Albertsons Stadium.
“It was awesome,” she said. “It was a little intimidating because there were many people, but it was also nice to see the faces I was working with remotely. It was exciting.
“I have a pretty good support system, so it was awesome. I have a lot of family from all over who were willing to celebrate me and my accomplishments. It felt good.”
Now that Counts is mapping out her future, she is eager to put the business acumen she gained at Boise State University into real-world application and continue to pay it forward.
“It was a tough situation growing up, but you have to get through it and make a better life for yourself,” she said. “I got what I was hoping to get out of the program. It was a good value.”
Counts believes that the fortitude she learned at an early age helped her stay the course as an online student. She plans to continue to nurture those in need for the rest of her life.
“Nobody can do it for you,” she said. “You have to buckle down, approach it with a positive attitude and an open mindset to new opportunities.
“Only you are capable of graduating college. If you have an open heart and willingness to persevere, it’s worth it in the end.”
Take The Next Step
Do you want to learn more about the Bachelor of Business Administration in Management program? Join us for an online information session or contact a student success coach.