There must be few things more challenging than sleeping in the backseat of a car, but that’s exactly where former 360 Youth Services housing client George spent his nights for seven months. Difficult family dynamics are what led to his homelessness. He showered at a fitness center and parked his car in various parking lots. He describes it as “tough and lonely.” The positive news is that he found his way to the 360 Youth Services Transitional Housing Program. Looking back, he enthusiastically shares his story of victory over adversity in hopes of helping others.
In the 360 program, George learned to “believe in himself.” He says the staff taught him to make choices in life and then how to live with them. By having several different roommates, he learned to accept different people and respect their varying backgrounds. He found the time spent in groups sharing both challenges and successes particularly helpful. Additionally, staff encouraged him to strengthen his relationships with his family which he happily says are “better than ever” now.
George identified the budgeting lessons as a key reason why he is successful today. He began working as a cashier at Panera Bread and was quickly promoted. He works as a trainer at Panera Bread and Corner Bakery, where he loves the interaction with people. Now 23, and two years since George graduated out the 360 program, he is also a student at College of DuPage in Marketing. Most important, the car is merely used for transportation.
And that’s where George is now.