Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to Chicago native, Year Up Chicago Alumni, IT professional, Chris Venegas.
Chris was born and raised in Chicago, growing in the west side neighborhood of Humboldt Park. Chris’s family didn’t have much growing up and struggle financially. His mother wanted the best for her son still. Chris was accepted into one of Chicago’s première high school’s, Jones College Prep. But he grew up in a neighborhood were the most overt form of material and financial success was gangbanging and drug dealing. Chris brought his neighborhood mentality with him to high school, and it led him to be kicked out of Jones Prep. He had no choice but to attend an alternative high school. Chris struggled to adjust, but it led him to have a reality check. Fortunately, Chris turned himself around and returned to Jones College Prep. He graduated, it was something few expected of him. Knowing money was tight, and college wasn’t a viable option for him, like so many talented and smart youth in Chicago. Chris met a representative from Year Up Chicago, an IT and workforce development program for young adults. Chris completed the program in a year’s time, and his internship at CVS Caremark turned into a full-time career opportunity. He’s worked as a lead technician there since 2013 and is completing his IT degree at Harold Washington College. Here is Chris about grabbing an opportunity, in his own words.
“Instead of waiting for something, go for it, you don’t have to wait for anything because that’s exactly what I did. I didn’t want to wait anymore because I was tired of being the guy who just sat there expecting something to happen but not knowing whether or not it ended up going to happen.”
We wish Mr. Venegas much more success in the future, and hopefully, his story can inspire many more talented young people in Chicago. To strive for their dreams no matter what obstacles they face. With a lot of determination and strong support network, any young person can be successful. Today we honor Chris Venegas as our Evolved Man of the Week.