He may have only worked here for two years, but Justin Earls already feels like a fixture at Mercy Home. The Senior Coordinator of Post-Secondary Options and Career Resources (a title he calls “the longest ever”) has already made a great impact on not just the young men he works with in Campbell Home, but all of the young people at our Home.
Justin, who grew up on the South Side of Chicago, first heard of Mercy Home when he was in junior high and had friends who were residents here.
“They would always talk about Mercy Home being this great place that always gave them three meals a day and they got to play basketball, and I was like, ‘oh wow, that’s great,’” he said. “So when I graduated from college and I was looking for a job, I was like, ‘I know I want to work with youth, I’ll look into this place.’”
Justin received his degree in sociology with a minor in criminology from Eastern Illinois University. He originally planned to be a police officer and follow in the footsteps of his father, who is a detective. But after taking some classes and an internship where he worked with youth, he changed his path.
“The fact that [the youth] looked up to me as kind of a mentor … I was like, I can really make a difference,” he said.
In his role in the Education and Career Resources department, Justin helps our young men with school and work—everything from helping our guys get into school and graduating, to finding and keeping a job. He said he was particularly drawn to this work because he knew the importance of having a plan B in place.
Justin played basketball in college and had hopes to play professional basketball overseas before he was sidelined by ACL injuries.
“I had to have a plan B in life and [so I’m] coaching youth that it’s good to have a plan A, [but] then what’s your plan B?” he said