Chenaire’s commitment to leadership has shown itself throughout his life. Since middle school, he has worked with local nonprofit organizations in his hometown of Rockford, one of the largest cities in Illinois. Like many other cities with an industrial manufacturing past, Rockford has seen its share of challenges. As he mentioned in his profile, “I see the daily lack of resources black youth are provided to become successful members of society, and I aim to change that.” Being involved in a wide range of organizations has given Chenaire a vision for making a difference, and his direct work in planning events that help youth with financial literacy, college planning, and mental health has helped him hone both his vision and his organizational skills. His dedication to making a difference for under-resourced youth led him to the Nonprofit and NGO Studies degree here at Northern Illinois University.
For as long as I can remember, one of my main goals in life has been to make a lasting impact on someone else’s life. Since the age of 13, I have volunteered and worked in local organizations in my hometown of Rockford, Illinois; organizations like the Goodwill, YMCA, and the Rockford Park District amongst others. At my community college, I was a member of our Black Student Union and other multicultural organizations involved in tutoring young children at local schools. Working with and being inspired by a group called 100 Strong, an organization in Rockford that instills qualities in disenfranchised young black men, has been pivotal. My time with this organization helped me to find my life purpose: helping black youth find a light at the end of a dark tunnel. I see daily the lack of resources black youth are provided to become successful members of society and I aim to change that. Through this organization, I work with other local groups and schools to host events that help youth with financial literacy, college applications, mock interviews, and the mental health issues impacting black youth. I see now how I can help bring positive change to my community.