First-generation student turns NMSU into a family tradition

Trevas Younger is the owner of The Heritage Assisted Living and Adult Day Care in Las Cruces. Younger's daughter, Nicole Jones, also graduated from NMSU, and her granddaughter, Charli Barbee, recently enrolled at the university.

Trevas Younger’s career path has been anything but typical, but her life experience has brought her to an occupation that speaks to her heart and lets her make a positive impact on families in Las Cruces.

The daughter of a U.S. Navy sailor and a waitress with a love of cooking, Younger ’90 was the first in her family to go to college. As a young single mom raising three young children – Jolene, Nicole and Michael – in Las Cruces, Younger says she came to know poverty first-hand, and it became her motivation to shape a better life for her family. She enrolled at NMSU, originally majoring in art before shifting her major to business.

“I looked at a college degree as my ticket out of poverty,” Younger says. “I really felt like a sponge while at NMSU. I admired my professors so much and loved every class I took. I think, after motherhood, earning my bachelor’s degree at NMSU was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.”

After graduating in 1990, Younger worked for more than a decade with the New Mexico Lottery, and then as a pharmaceutical sales specialist for AstraZeneca, one of the largest drug companies in the world. These roles helped her better understand the analytics of a business, but it was her adult daughter’s traumatic brain injury in 2000 that eventually focused her business training into a new calling, as owner of The Heritage Assisted Living and Adult Day Care in Las Cruces.

Following a car accident, her daughter Jolene was in a coma for months. Her brain injury led to a lengthy hospital stay, followed by in-home care. Younger and her family rallied to care for Jolene and help raise her young daughter, Charli, but Younger struggled to find the level of compassionate, professional caregiving that Jolene needed.

When Younger decided the time had come to act on the plan she had been saving for since college – owning her own business – she found an opportunity to channel her passion for entrepreneurship into providing the high level of care she knew was possible for both elderly residents and adults like Jolene, who is now thriving, volunteering in the community and singing in her church choir. Younger purchased The Heritage Assisted Living in 2016, and in 2020 was able to expand from 24 beds to 40 with a new building.

In November 2020, Younger was recognized with a Distinguished Alumni Award by Doña Ana Community College for her work in entrepreneurship with the Small Business Development Center at DACC. The award celebrates her passion and resilience in navigating her small business through the COVID-19 pandemic.

A grateful NMSU grad and tireless fan of Aggie athletics, Younger is most proud of her family, and pleased to be the first of three generations of NMSU Aggies. Daughter Nicole Jones ’10 earned her criminal justice degree from NMSU and enjoys writing plays and acting in local theatre. Granddaughter Charli Barbee also recently enrolled at NMSU in the College of Business.

Amanda Bradford ’03 ’21