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“I knew I had the potential to give this world more than I was giving,” said Chris, who grew up in St. Paul. He realized his potential at Ujamaa Place, an organization that receives technical assistance, training, and funding through United Way’s Culturally Powered Communities program.

Operating under the philosophy that every person is valuable, worthy, and lovable, Ujamaa supports young African American men with housing, education, and employment.

Prior to Ujamaa, Chris struggled with addiction, resorting to sleeping in his car and on the light rail because he had nowhere to go. Through the program, Chris became sober, took entrepreneurial classes and became a published author. “When I brought home my book, my mom cried. And that just warmed my heart.”

Chris plans to open his own business to help others. He added, “I want to provide opportunities for people who need chances, jobs, and opportunities without being judged.”

Watch Chris and others share stories about how Ujamaa Place has impacted their lives and our community:

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