Photo courtesy 360 Youth Services

We are thrilled to look back at the success of those who have benefited from 360 Youth Services.

This month we visit the journey of Emily, who grew up with several hardships. She had lived in five countries, struggled with depression, self-injury, and her parent’s divorce. When she moved to Naperville at 16, she felt very alienated. A school counselor suggested to her dad that she attend the Snowball Substance Abuse Prevention & Leadership Development weekend retreat. She attended six times, and even served in the coveted role of Teen Director.

Emily credits the program with helping her to come out of her shell. She still refers back to the philosophy she learned there of “dancing as if no one is watching.” The Snowball program helped her shift from feeling like an alien, to being able to step out of her comfort zone and make smart choices. She came to accept her unique past and even considers the international experience an asset now. She learned healthy coping skills that continue to help her personally and professionally. She is employed at a Fortune 50 company in Organizational Communication.

The year Emily was Teen Director, the theme was “You get what you give.” Now 25, she’s giving back as an adult leader. She had to miss the most recent Snowball retreat however, but she had a very good reason: she got married to a man she met while they were both students at North Central College!

And that’s where Emily is now.