Kelly is studying criminal justice at Benedictine University.

Since 360 Youth Services began offering transitional housing for homeless youth, dozens of young people have benefited. We think it’s important to circle back and see how far they’ve come. Recently we checked in with Kelly, who came to 360’s program at age 18 because she had nowhere to live. Now 23, she is happy to share her story of triumph and a life that looks remarkably different than when she arrived.

Kelly’s path to homelessness began with the turbulent divorce of her parents when she was 12. The difficult family dynamics resulted in challenges that completely overwhelmed her. Soon that included being homeless.

In the year that she resided in 360’s program, her life began to turn around. Kelly says staff quickly helped her find work, and assisted with her education, including study groups and guidance to manage her schedule so she could meet her responsibilities. After two years at College of DuPage, a generous scholarship from Benedictine University led to her enrollment there, where she will graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice in just one more semester.

In the meantime, work has transformed from a job to a true career in the corrections field. Just as important, counselors helped her learn coping skills and to accept people as they are. Now, she says her relationship with her parents has never been better.

She emphasizes that she hopes to help people, through her work and by sharing her story. Kelly, you are doing just that, and inspiring us with each step of your journey.

360 Youth Services provides life-changing services to youth through prevention education, counseling and shelter. Visit to learn more.