When Shaq stood at the podium and addressed several hundred guests at the 360 Youth Services’ Gala, his poise reflected the healthy, meaningful life he is living. Excited about the future, he confidently shared his hopes with the crowd. But it hadn’t always been so positive for him. Less than three years earlier, he had been sleeping in other people’s homes on an air mattress. However, once he found 360 Youth Services’ Transitional Housing Program, his life began to change for the better.
With an apartment and bed just for him, he learned what home really meant. He appreciated being able to come and go, cook for himself and his new-found friends, and take control of his life. He says one of the most valuable elements of the program was learning how to cope with the challenges that come up every day. Problems don’t seem so big any more. He has steadily climbed the career ladder and works as an Inspector for the DuPage Housing Authority. After learning budgeting skills, he was able to purchase a car.
At the Gala, he shared just how big an impact the program has had for him. “I have found a group of friends that have turned into family,” he said. “I have been given the opportunity to start a better job than I ever had; I truly do believe I have what it takes to succeed.”
Recently, he stepped up into the 360 Graduate Leadership program to serve as a mentor to others.
And that’s where Shaq is now.