Executive Director, Chasing23 Youth Empowerment Group
Fatherless youth now Father of 3, Once an Inmate now a Civic Leader, Darius Ballinger, 28, turned his trauma into his purpose. A 2019 Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow and University of Chicago Civic Leadership Fellow. Currently serving as the founding Executive Director for Chasing23 Youth Empowerment Group. A nonprofit organization improving the lives of Chicago’s most esteemed youth through social enterprises. As of this year, Chasing23 has served 35 youth, in cohorts of 10-15 each school, with limited personal, academic, and professional support resources. By providing these youth with a comprehensive blend of mentoring, tutoring, and workforce development programming, Chasing23 has been able to support young men of color in developing personal and professional skills, building wellness and confidence to achieve goals for long term success.
Darius has been endorsed by 44th U.S. President, Barack Hussein Obama, via Instagram for his work in communities and jails to get citizens civically involved through voter registration. Currently, serving on the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Working Group. Darius serves on local advisory boards for juvenile justice, digital learning, and social enterprise.
Darius considered it be an honor and privilege to been featured as a keynote speaker for universities, workshops facilitator for local high schools, and a coach to other community builders nationwide. In a recent article published by the Partnerships for Safe and Peaceful Communities, Darius says now he appears to be an exception, but in the future, he hopes to be the norm.