Supporting Youth

February 2019 View more

Harley Jones with wife, Annie, and children Sofiya, Sailer, and Cruz at Naperville’s Labor Day parade

Providing services to youth, including substance use prevention education, counseling, and housing in the Naperville/Aurora area, 360 Youth Services has been a lifeline to area teens for over 45 years. Since January 2018, the nonprofit has been led by Naperville resident Harley Jones, a man with a passion for helping others and a vision for making the world a better place.

Jones didn’t plan a career in nonprofit work—in fact, his plan was to become a history professor. “I studied history in school and began teaching at the college level, so I’ve always had an interest in something larger than myself,” Jones explains. It wasn’t until graduate school that he had an opportunity to try volunteer work. “I was the first one in my family to go to college, so I never volunteered in high school. When I went to college, I worked the entire time to afford it,” he explains. The pivotal moment came when Jones decided to volunteer with AmeriCorps. “Within two weeks of making that decision, I found myself on a Red Cross truck after the third hurricane hit Florida in 2004, handing out food and water to people who hadn’t had electricity for three weeks. I was hooked. That was really my first opportunity to volunteer or serve on a mission. It really changed my entire life, especially my career.”

Jones spent 15 years with the Red Cross, running disaster relief programs, first in the Peoria area and then in Chicago. “I lived in Naperville almost six years while I was working out of the Chicago office, but I spent 90 percent of my time on the road, either in the city or traveling following disasters,” he says. Jones had just returned home after spending 45 days in Houston helping the victims of Hurricane Harvey, when the opportunity to work for 360 arose. “It came at the exact right time. Here was a great organization with an unbelievable history and reputation that was in the very community I lived in and loved, but hadn’t spent much time in—an organization that made a daily impact in the school district my kids were going to attend. It was a huge opportunity for me.”

Long-standing, ever-evolving 360 Youth Services began in 1971 when a group of parents, community, and religious leaders recognized the need for professional youth-centered services in Naperville. They formed a council that eventually became the nonprofit organization Naperville Community Outreach. In 2011 the organization changed its name to 360 Youth Services to better reflect its mission and vision.

Since taking the helm last year, Jones has been analyzing where the organization has been and where it’s headed. “We’re building a robust strategic plan to ensure we remain a dynamic and reactive community partner that continues to meet the needs of our youth,” Jones explains.

“We’re also working to ensure that our wonderful and deeply committed staff members continue to have what they need to meet the challenges youth face now and in the future.”

He raves about the professionalism and commitment of the 360 staff and is grateful for all those in the community who work tirelessly without fanfare.

“360 is an organization with more than 45 years of work experience in the community. My hope is that as we move into the next 45 years, we can all make a commitment to focus on our youth as our best resource for the future.”

For more information about 360 Youth Services and its fourth annual Downtown Naperville Chocolate Walk fundraiser on February 9, visit

Photos courtesy 360 Youth Services