stories of our youth
JESSICA WAS JUST SEVENTEEN WHEN SHE CAME TO
The Harbour's Shelter program with the clothes on her back and a few belongings. When it became clear that it was unsafe to reunite Jessica with her family, she moved to our Transitional Living Program, where she got a job and finished her last year of high school.
With help from her caseworker, Jessica navigated FAFSA applications and built up her credit to improve her chances of receiving a student loan. Her hard work paid off - she soon had her pick of acceptance letters from no less than six colleges. Jessica chose to attend Drake University to major in broadcast news, and was driven to the campus by one of The Harbour's staff members.
In the four years since Jessica's first night with us, she has had her own radio show, written and produced radio newscasts, had stories published on the front page of the student paper and on chicagotalks.org, got her first internship at CBS 2, and has been named a 2013 Fischetti Scholar for excellence in journalism. Jessica is currently studying in New York with the Marist in Manhattan program.
TRICIA'S CHILDHOOD WASN'T EASY, BUT SHE NEVER
imagined she would be homeless. After the sudden death of her mother, she thought she would always have a home with her grandmother. Shortly after adopting Tricia, her grandmother's health declined. Soon her grandmother was unable to care for herself or Tricia.
Tricia came to The Harbour, where she moved into an apartment with three other girls. With a safe place to stay and support from her caseworker, she was able to focus on her future. Tricia graduated high school, worked several part-time jobs, and enrolled at Oakton Community College. She saved enough to afford her own apartment, with assistance from The Harbour's Independent Living Program.
After obtaining an Associate's degree, Tricia transferred to a four-year university to pursue her degree in Early Child Education.
CALLIE CAME TO THE HARBOUR'S TRANSITIONAL LIVING
program after a childhood of trauma. She struggled with behavioral and conduct issues, and lacked many of the skills needed to live independently.
With support from her Harbour caseworker and a therapist at a community mental health center, Callie was able to build upon her strengths and work toward her future. In the Independent Living Program, Callie maintained a full-time job and contributed a significant amount of her earnings towards her savings.
Callie enlisted in the Air Force, and hopes to become a JAG officer and eventually a judge. Although Callie continues to struggle with negative family relationships, she has become a healthier, more balanced young woman in control of her future.