Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

Amanda: Success in Bloom

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 by

“I separated from my parents and family because of abuse, and they did not want me anymore.”

 To the outside world, it looked like Amanda’s life was on track. She was at Lawrence University studying music education when her family’s abuse reached a new level and they cut her off financially. Without their financial support, Amanda could no longer afford to stay in school, and she had no where else to go. She had just turned 19. “In the past, I’ve lived in shelters, on the street, and on various couches of people I know,” she remembers.

 Then Amanda learned about COTS, and she moved into the Women’s Program in February. This driven young woman has quickly turned her life around and glows as she talks about all of her accomplishments. “Since coming to COTS, I’ve gained stability in my life. I have been able to begin therapy and get back on medications I wasn’t able to afford before,” she explains.


Amanda was able to find a rewarding full-time position working with individuals with disabilities. She also recently was able to purchase her very first vehicle thanks to support from the Work-n-Wheels program through CAP Services. The Work-n-Wheels program provides interest-free loans to low-income individuals so that they can purchase their own vehicles.

She is also working to start a community garden at the

women’s building. The garden will focus on growing fresh vegetables for the residents of the program. “I want to teach my peers that they can provide for themselves,” she explains. She believes that gardening will be “a good therapeutic outlet for the women here.”

Back to School

Amanda is perhaps the most excited about recently gaining independent student status. This will allow her to receive more financial aid, since prior to this, her school financial package was based on her parents’ income. Now, she can afford to return to Lawrence University. She plans to continue studying music education this fall.

Amanda’s experience has given her insight that will benefit her as she works to “pay it forward” in the future in her work in education. “I’ve learned that there are many people just like me who’ve gone through just as much or more, and they can still turn it around.”