Lilia Gomez, 19, knows what it's like to be out of school and out of work.
Amid a storm of events in her life — the incarceration of her mother, a baby at 16 and time spent living in a shelter — Gomez dropped out of high school. She took the time off to care for her son, but she also knew she needed a longer-term plan.
"In that moment I felt like, what am I going to do with my life?" said Gomez, who lives in South Chicago. "I just felt really lost."
Gomez has since restarted school at Youth Connection Leadership Academy, a charter school on the city's South Side, and is set to graduate soon with her high school diploma. It's taken a lot of hard...