Loyola University Chicago

Center for Experiential Learning


Hailey Gravel

Hailey Gravel
Criminal Justice & Criminology and Psychology

Growing up, I had a number of friends who bounced in and out of juvenile corrections and probation. They often had difficult upbringings, a lack of positive influences, and unhealthy addictions. As I watched them struggle with the system and, subsequently, further in life and education, I struggled myself. I knew that there had to be more that I could do to help them and others like them. Through my internship [Intern at Cook County Department of Justice] I finally have the opportunity and am gaining the resources to help my friends and other people who are dealing with similar situations. I have been able to experience the different sides of juvenile justice over the past few weeks, including observing in juvenile court and reading social investigations and case files- opportunities not offered to the public. I have been able to go into the field with probation officers to understand the everyday duties and importance of working with at-risk juveniles and their families, while trying to provide all the necessary services to help each child be successful in life. Juveniles are at a vulnerable age where they often need assistance, guidance, and structure more than punishment and incarceration and it is of immense importance in Cook County that juveniles are treated in a way that best helps them overcome obstacles, allowing them to grow and thrive as well-adjusted individuals. In addition to my work with the juveniles, I am also co-leading a support program to help Cook County staff to beat nicotine addiction. After only a month, this internship has already been rewarding in ways that I did not foresee. It is an amazing feeling to believe that you are making a difference in even one person’s life and everyone I have met along the way has inspired me to be a more kind, genuine, and dedicated individual- to everyone I have the privilege of meeting. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity and to experience so much while working with truly sincere, compassionate, and inspirational people.