Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

“You Have to Work Hard for What You Want”

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 by


Joe* first came to COTS because he wanted to get his life back on track. After being released from jail, he was able to find part-time work, but he knew that his life wasn’t moving in the direction he wanted it to move in.

Joe has been a resident of COTS since September 2012. He first entered the Men’s Program, where he learned about budgeting and responsibility. He was able to find two news jobs, a full-time job and a part-time job. He now works over 50 hours each week so that he can keep paying down debt and increasing his savings.


Five months ago, Joe entered COTS’ Living Debt Free Program, which works with men who have completed COTS programming but need additional time to pay off debt and achieve financial stability. Living Debt Free residents also serve as mentors to the young adult residents. “It’s a good feeling [being a mentor],” says Joe.

Since being at COTS, Joe says that his work ethic has improved dramatically. “One thing I’ve learned is…things don’t happen overnight. You have to work hard for what you want. I actually really like working, and I didn’t used to,” explains Joe.


Joe has already paid down $4,500 in debt and plans to keep paying it down until he is debt-free and has savings.  Joe is proud to share that he is almost off of probation. He also says that he now feels fulfilled. “I’m finally in the right direction in my life,” he grins.

Once he achieves financial stability, Joe plans to move out of COTS. He is also considering going back to school for computer technology or graphic design. The major lesson that he has learned in life is that, “If you want to make it in life, you have to have a steady job.” With his work ethic and determination, Joe is on track to become a successful, independent adult.

*Name has been changed to protect resident’s privacy