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Rolling forward

This is one in a series of articles reconnecting with some of the memorable people the Naperville Sun reported on during 2013.

Before she had a car, Arielle Jardine would spend about four hours getting to school and back each day. Driving from her Lisle apartment to College of DuPage would have meant covering 7½ miles each way, but Jardine instead had to make the half-hour walk to the Lisle Metra station, ride the Burlington Northern commuter line to the Route 59 station in Naperville, and then catch the Pace 714 bus to the Glen Ellyn campus.

The trip home meant making the two-hour commute again, in reverse.

As if that weren’t enough for a 21-year-old to worry about, there was also the prospect that Jardine and her roommates soon would be homeless again.

When the people who run the transitional housing program for 360 Youth Services learned 14 months ago that their federal funding had been suspended, it appeared that the Naperville agency would lose its ability to help Jardine and other homeless young women avoid living on the streets. After being kicked out of the “toxic environment” that was her parents’ home, Jardine had resided in the apartment with the nonprofit’s support since August 2012.

Before long, however, the picture brightened. After launching an aggressive campaign early this year dubbed A Dollar for Our Daughters, and receiving a bulk donation from the local philanthropy 100+ Women Who Care-Naperville, the program has been continued. Providing additional support was Naperville CARES, which extended its used-car redistribution program to Jardine, giving her a 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII that had been donated by a community member.

It has enabled Jardine to devote her attention to her studies at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She commutes to classes four days each week, working toward a degree in graphic design. The course of study is intensive, competitive and time-consuming. Jardine is trying to secure a work study position on campus, but she’s grateful that for now, she doesn’t have to divide her time between her long commute to school and a job near home.

“It’s really nice not to have to worry that something’s going to happen where I can’t live here anymore. It’s just nice to be able to work on school,” she said. “MIA’s curriculum is really tough, and I need to focus on school.”

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