Transitional Living Program assists homeless youth

Courtesy photo

Lakoda Cregar (right) is pictured with her personal caseworker Jaime VanDuinen.


ANTRIM COUNTY – Lakoda Cregar is living a life of transformation due to her personal resolve and involvement with the Transitional Living Program for homeless youth.

In October 2017 Lakoda was homeless and living temporarily in a place fraught with chaos before she was referred to the Third Level Youth Services Program of Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. After her referral, Lakoda was able to graduate with a high school degree from Bellaire High school. In 2018 she was able to obtain a number of jobs and completed the necessary requirements to attend college that fall.

However, with a lengthy commute from Antrim County to Traverse City and back again to Antrim, Lakoda was unable to acquire the needed transportation and dropped out within the first week. At that time she was living with her boyfriend in a camper, but when the weather turned cold that winter they both moved in with his parents. In December 2018, Lakoda found a job as a caretaker for Spectrum Hospital.

Over a year later, having successfully participated in the Transitional Living Program, Lakoda purchased, licensed and insured her own car this past spring.

The Transitional Living Program helps homeless youth living in situations similar to that of Lakoda’s. The program helps young adults learn necessary life skills, which enable them to transition into independent adults.

In addition, the program ensures that the youth involved do not have to make this transition alone. Lakoda is extremely grateful for her personal caseworker Jaime VanDuinen, who has been by her side throughout the program.

Lakoda’s story is one shared by many homeless youth facing the challenges of young adulthood alone and with minimal resources.

During the months of July and August this year, readers of Michigan newspapers will find a brown paper bag in their newspapers. The bags symbolize the many clients of Child and Family Services who travel uncertainly from one place to the next carrying their belongings in brown paper bags. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of these individuals, please consider a donation.

Today Lakoda is saving her money with dreams of affording her own housing and college tuition. She has come a long way since she entered the Transitional Living Program as a young girl struggling to graduate from high school. Now having maintained a steady job for seven months, Lakoda is transforming her future as she takes the necessary steps to become an independent adult.

If you are reading this article and are seeking this type of assistance, please call 231-922-4800 or 800-442-7315, or visit the website for Youth Services at: or



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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 313
Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone: 231-533-5651
Fax: 231-533-4662
Physical Address: 
4470 S. M-88 Hwy.
Bellaire, MI 49615

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