Filling Hearts by Filling Closets

When 9-year-old Adeline Jones got a tour of 360 Youth Services Transitional Housing Program, she saw a different side of life that she didn’t know existed.

“I thought everyone lived or living the same life as me and being happy, but these kids weren’t feeling happy because they had no clothes to wear or anything,” said Adeline Jones.

After getting a glimpse of the barren closets, Adeline knew something had to be done. With the help of her family and her classmates, she set out to fill the closets of young adults trying make it from homelessness to independence.

“We had requested from the case manager a list of ‘what they needed the most, and we started off by Addy forming a letter and typing it herself, and she mailed it to every fourth grade parent, and then people would call us for donations, and donations would show up on our porch and everyone has been so supportive of what she was trying to accomplish,” said Jennifer Jones, Adeline’s mom.

After six weeks of collecting, Adeline and her family showed up to 360’s door with about 1000 donated items, from dress shirts, and ties to winter coats and shoes, which will go toward a program within 360 called “My Closet.”

“Kids were coming to us often times with only the shirts that were issued to them by the State, they didn’t have any other clothes. So for us, we wanted to make sure that these kids had access to clothes that could make them feel good, that they could be proud of wearing to school, that they could feel confident in going to a job interview,” said Katy Leclair, Chief Executive Officer for 360 Youth Services.

But for Adeline, it’s also the thought that counts. She and her classmates designed handmade tags in hopes of giving others something more to smile about.

“Some people don’t feel loved or special and what my mom and dad say to me every single day. My mom puts in special messages with my lunch that makes me feel really happy, and some people never hear that really, and I thought that it would make their day and make them feel happy or special,” said Adeline.

“Our kids don’t have a family often times, the staff and the volunteers in our program become that family and support system and in this situation, Addy has become an extension of that family, she’s providing for these kids in a way that no one else has in their history, and that to me is just incredible and inspiring,” said Leclair.

What was on small gesture for Adeline became the perfect fit to help others.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.

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