At 27, Precious Wright (WCAS08) is not much older than the young men and women she mentors as an employment counselor at the Youth Job Center in Evanston. As coordinator of the center’s Women Invested in Learning and Livelihoods program, Wright helps employed young women to advance in their careers, increase their wages, access employer-provided benefits and get access to child care and housing. “I’m young,” she says. “I think that helps me in my work because these young people are comfortable with me, they open up and they trust me. I’ve been through a lot and I don’t judge.” Born on Chicago’s West Side, Wright was raised by her family’s neighbors until they put her into foster care at age 11. At Northwestern, Wright majored in psychology, and after her senior year she earned a one-year fellowship at the Evanston Community Development Corporation through Northwestern’s Public Interest Program. After her fellowship Wright became a program coordinator and later went to work full time at ECDC, where she boosted local small businesses and launched a farmers’ market on the city’s west side as the nonprofit’s interim executive director. The Evanston/North Shore YWCA honored her with the 2011 Lorraine H. Morton Young Woman of Promise Award, named for former Evanston mayor Lorraine H. Morton (GSESP42). That same year Wright transitioned to the YJC, where she draws on her own experiences and lives out her passion for helping at-risk youth. “Day to day I really do make a difference in these young folks’ lives,” says Wright. “I think that’s why my job is so rewarding.”
Precious Wright talks about her personal journey and the importance of giving back to the community in this Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences video.
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