Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

Studying Success

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 by

Young adult resident is determined to beat the odds and lead a happy life
Dominic left home right after he turned 18. He was still a senior in high school, but he knew that he had to escape the environment of abuse he had lived in his entire life.

 Dominic grew up in Chicago in poverty. “Everything we had came from the trash,” he remembers. “We were used to having nothing.” His family sold drugs, and he felt as if he was in constant danger. They eventually moved to Appleton to try to lead a safer life.

“She wasn’t interested in me”

  However, even after the move, Dominic continued to experience severe abuse from his entire family. Dominic also felt distant from his family because of his focus on schooling. “I wasn’t in a family that knew how to organize and be successful. The more educated I got, the more distant my mom was from me. She wasn’t interested in me,” he says.


He knew he couldn’t continue in his current environment. After moving out, he continued his senior year of high school while working and trying to live on his own. “I worked as much as I could, but I couldn’t afford my rent,” he remembers.
Finding community

 He had heard about COTS from someone in the community and met with a COTS staff member. He soon was accepted into the COTS program and was able to move into the COTS Young Adult Program in April 2014.

 At COTS, Dominic says, “It feels good to be in a community.” He has been taking advantage of the life skills classes, as well as doing chores and “learning responsibility.” He has also been able to learn how to network. Dominic was especially happy to be connected with the Dental Bus earlier this year. He says that COTS “helps makes someone more confident in themselves.”

 While at COTS, he was able to finish his senior year of high school and graduate this spring. He is currently enrolled in college and studying mechanical engineering. He was even recently awarded a $2,000 scholarship. Dominic continues to work while attending school.

In the future, he plans to finish school and get a good job. His main goal is “bringing [his] mom back to a life she deserves, finding treatment for [his] mom–having enough money for that.” He also wants to help his family start on a new path that is full of success and healthy relationships. “I want to break away from the cycle of abuse and give an opportunity to anyone who is born after me to have an equal chance,” he explains. Dominic is determined to beat the odds and lead a successful and happy life.