The work done at Association House not only provides a helping hand to those in need but may also provide context to a life’s purpose. That is the case for Luis, a student at NEIU, whose journey began at Association House during the ’90s.

As a child, Luis was a participant in our after-school program. Luis recently reconnected with Association House through a school project that required him to research a nonprofit organization in Chicago. During his visit to the House, Luis had a chance to learn about how the organization has transformed since his time here as a child.

Growing up, Luis assisted his family with childcare during after school hours where his parents were working, ensuring that they would be able to afford their home.

“I first came to Association House when I was six. For me, I was a child whose parents couldn’t always afford to be around,” Luis said.

Association House provided Luis resources to further his education and placed him in contact with mentors and social workers.

Luis would leave school at 3 p.m. and as a member of after school program he was able to receive support from the hours between dismissal from school and his mother coming home. During his tenure in the program, he learned how to set his priorities, take care of his homework and he viewed the mentors as a second family. Luis recalls how the youth that were together in that program had an untimely reunion due to the death of one of the mentors, however, they found a pleasant moment in seeing that everyone made it and are working to have successful lives.

In conversation, Luis reflects on his time in Association House and states that he sees himself in the seat of those who are present now.

“It’s reassuring to know this type of help is still going on. Even though the programs have grown or adjusted, there is still an impact because the need of the community shifts,” Luis said.

Luis’s time at Association House has impacted his career choice. He is now pursuing a career that will allow him to give back and create the same opportunities he was afforded. His coursework led him back to reconnecting with Association House, where he states he would potentially like a career upon graduation.

“I’m in my junior year of college studying Social Work and I would love to one day contribute to the work of Association House or a place like it,” Luis revealed. “Beyond that, I am currently working with children in the community through various religious groups and additional nonprofit efforts.”

If you would like to share your story of how Association House helped you, please contact DeShawn Woodards at