Chris Thomas: A Hidden Gem Helping Youth Find Their Passions
Chris Thomas, an Oak Park resident, is dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of young people in Chicago. He founded the non-profit organization “Your Passion First” in 2019 to provide a safe space for young men to explore their passions, discover their strengths, and prepare for careers that align with their interests. Through his organization, Thomas is helping to build a stronger, more resilient community by investing in the next generation.
Teaching Young Men to Ask Important Questions
Thomas’ weekly mentoring sessions at the Oak Park Library are a highlight for many young men in the community. They come for the pizza, but they stay for the opportunity to learn and grow. Thomas encourages his mentees to ask themselves important questions about their lives and their goals. He helps them to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to develop a plan for success.
“I was just here for the food at first, but I started coming here more and learning what it was about,” said Kaleb, one of Thomas’ mentees. “It’s a space people can come, they can talk about how their day went, where get stuff out, without doing it in a bad way.”
Thomas believes that when young people are able to identify their passions and connect them to a skill, they are more likely to succeed. “When you’re trying to do what you’re passionate about, you don’t look at it as a job,” he tells the kids. “You look at it as ‘that’s my life.'”
A Mentor Who Has Been Mentored
Thomas’ passion for mentoring comes from his own experiences as a young man. Despite having a great upbringing, he found himself in trouble because he lacked a clear vision for his future. It was his mentors who helped him to identify his special talents and to develop a plan for success. Now, Thomas is paying it forward by helping the next generation of young men to find their way.
“He offered to help me get internships,” said Kaleb. “He showed me how to do interviews, how to be successful as a young man.”
Building a Stronger, More Resilient Community
Thomas’ work with “Your Passion First” is helping to build a stronger, more resilient community by investing in the next generation. He believes that by helping young people to find their passions and connect them to a skill, they are more likely to succeed in life. And when they succeed, the entire community benefits.
“They’re not going to just get a job, but they’re going to connect with people in their community,” Thomas said. “Every chance we can get them closer to that, that’s a blessing.”
Chris Thomas is a hidden gem in the Chicago community, dedicating his life’s work to helping young men find their passions and prepare for successful careers. Through his non-profit organization “Your Passion First,” Thomas is providing a safe space for young people to explore their interests and connect with their community. His work is helping to build a stronger, more resilient Chicago, one young man at a time.
- Oak Park Hidden Gem
- Kids’ Passion Discovery
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- Enrichment Programs
News Source : Joe Donlon
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