CHIL Youth Spotlight: Devin
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Devin, 22 years old, entered our interim housing program at CHIL in early July.
After graduating High School in 2018 and while in College at Southern Illinois University, Devin obtained his Certified Nursing Assistant (C.N.A.) certificate. He has worked as a CNA for almost 5 years, including remaining an essential frontline worker throughout the COVID pandemic.
Devin has remained on the front lines, helping individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other physical and mental disabilities. He remembers “Initially it was scary working with Covid patients in the nursing facility when the pandemic first emerged in Chicago. But I got used to it.”
Devin’s time in College was interrupted due to the pandemic when all students had to learn remotely and move off campus, “It was a frantic time,” he recalls. With nowhere else to turn, Devin returned home for a year. But when his home became an unsafe environment for him, Devin was forced to move out on his own. Though the decision was hard, Devin says “Leaving was the best thing I could do for myself”. He continued to work as a CNA while living out of his car for three months.
After several unforeseen financial setbacks, Devin was left with nowhere to sleep. In May 2022, Devin’s friend brought him to Knight Ministry where he stayed until a bed opened for him at CHIL. “I’m glad I’m here too, I’m so grateful for this program. Wish we had a bigger capacity, even more programs, and space”.
Since staying at CHIL, Devin often works over 40+ hour weeks at the Nursing Facility, justifying his favorite hobby - “Sleep! When I’m not at work, I like to sleep but I also like to watch movies, especially animated movies”.
“Since I’ve been staying at CHIL I’ve been saving up and working with staff on repairing my credit. They are helping me organize my bills, making sure I’m paying them on time, but also saving for an apartment. That’s what I’m currently working on, saving for an apartment. I want to build up some savings for when I move out so that I have enough saving should any issues arise. It’s scary out there being without a backup plan”
"When I'm at CHIL I feel at peace. I feel like I’m a lot more stable at CHIL and the stability gives me peace of mind. After I save up and get an apartment, I would like to finish my bachelor’s degree in business or get my LPN license. I’ve always been the type of person to help anybody that I thought I could. I never liked seeing anyone upset or feeling anything but their best”.
Devin learned that empathy for others, a familiar quality he sees in other Youth at CHIL, is a side effect of his lived experience. “Some people don’t ever want others to feel the way they felt before,” he explains. “Some people who have overextended themselves emotionally in their past, which left them with nothing - that’s why they are here. They don’t want to see that happen to anyone else”.
Advice Devin would give to other youth experiencing homelessness is, “No matter what, always be grateful for the process. And know that not everyone moves at the same pace. Enjoy the process, accept what life has given to you and accept your circumstances because nothing lasts forever. Stay positive”.
Devin also recommends using all available resources, “Take every opportunity that’s offered and ask a lot of questions. Because you don’t know what resources are out there. If I knew about Case Management services provided by CHIL I could have avoided a lot of stress and time.”
Devin still occasionally stays in touch with his family but has learned to set safe boundaries for himself. He is building an independent life and is optimistic about what’s to come in his future.
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