Lane spent a life feeling dependent; always needing help from others. After growing up in Chicago, in an area where gang influences resulted in drug and alcohol use, and later, ending up in a violent marriage, Lane needed to find a way out. Lane sought refuge in a shelter on the west coast, but health complications, including an expensive series of eye surgeries, added to the struggle. Living on an already limited income, Lane stumbled upon an arrangement that felt like, “God calling for a return to Chicago.” A family, for which Lane had worked in the past, offered work as a nanny, in exchange for financial support. Searching for more help, Lane tried many resources, here in Chicago, to find the means to establish independence while struggling to cover growing healthcare costs.

A referral to the Prevail program, Lane says, is what turned life around. An avid fan of puzzles, Lane explains the experience in the Prevail program felt like all the pieces had finally fit together. During Lane's first visit, the Prevail Emergency Assistance program was able to provide a bus pass and ID assistance, to get Lane an ID; which would be critical for health and employment benefits. In subsequent visits, the program was able to refer Lane to legal resources for both divorce and disability issues; as well as additional referrals for: counseling, the food pantry and vocational rehab. Lane says that the Prevail program, “provided hope, week after week, month after month, gently walking me through the process until all the pieces were in place.” Lane methodically visited the Oak Park office weekly, for months, engaging the resources available in the Emergency Assistance program; the Employment Readiness program; and the Financial Literacy program. Lane credits the program with providing, “thing after thing to do to set each brick in the foundation of the future.”

Building on that foundation, Lane was able to begin attending college courses, as well as finding job placement. That job has resparked an interest in computer databases while inspiring an interest in a career in non-profit development. Lane credits the Prevail program with, “reframing life and creating the feeling that a person who felt like they needed help from others all their life could actually be a person who could help others.”