Meet Marcus

Updated: Jun 21



21-year-old Marcus moved to Chicago from Mississippi after a difficult family situation forced him to leave home. Upon arriving in Chicago, Marcus experienced several unexpected setbacks and with nowhere to turn, he found himself without a safe place to sleep.


That’s when he first came to CHIL in 2020 - visiting the drop-in Center daily and then moving into the residential program. Here, Marcus received case management services, continued to attend group sessions and, with the aid of his case manager, developed an action plan eventually resulting in his moving out of CHIL and into his own apartment.


Unfortunately, another wave of unforeseen setbacks sidelined Marcus’ plans and left him facing the unwelcome prospect of experiencing homelessness all over again


The change was abrupt and left Marcus feeling frustrated and at times hopeless. Fortunately, CHIL staff was available when he needed support. On-call to help him process the difficult situation he’d been dealt, CHIL was there to not only listen, but to encourage him to keep trying. In (include date), Marcus’s re-enrolled in the residential program at CHIL.


“When Youth leave the program, they know we are always here as a resource for them. It’s not uncommon that a young person will need additional support as they move out and navigate independence. Should a young person need to return, they know that our doors remain open; we stand ready to coach them and to cheer for them, starting all over again if necessary. We stand committed to providing unconditional love and relentless support to each youth in need” says Amy Laird, Director of Programs.


When Marcus re-enrolled, it was clear his stay would be different. Right away staff noticed a drastic difference in his eagerness to start working towards his goals. His Case Manager Taneka notes, “Marcus is wasting no time, jumping right in making a plan with achievable goals and timelines to find his next opportunity”.


“We are looking at openings and agencies which will provide growth opportunities and invest in Marcus’s future. We want more than temporary work, rather a position where he can flourish and maintain his independence” says Taneka.


Marcus has learned to pivot in those difficult situations and to focus on spreading positive energy. “I take the words of encouragement from Taneka and I apply those ideas to myself and other youth I meet. You might be angry, but do things to get your mind off the anger. I know my own story and when I see that in other youth in the program with similar experiences, I want to help them; I want to see everybody make it in life”.


Advice Marcus shares with other Youth at CHIL is “to stay focused and stay determined. It might be a bad situation now, but it doesn’t mean it will be bad later”.

Marcus’ resilience and determination are inspiring, we look forward to sharing the incredible things to come in Marcus’s future.


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