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Inspiring Stories from the South Side

The heart of our mission at VoyageChicago is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the Chicago’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out the South Side’s rising stars below.

Crysta Wicks

Do you believe in fairy tales?? Life is what you create it to be… I was born and raised in the beautiful City of Chicago on the Southeast Side. I’m the eldest daughter of three girls, it is no surprise that I quickly identified with being “The Boss” in my house. Being the oldest child gave me the privilege of being in charge while Mom & Dad were away at work. Read more>>

Renee Lang-Schweikle

It was a long and bumpy road and there were many times where I felt so alone and like I was drowning in so much social media and competition that I wanted to just end it all. Having a business was supposed to be fun, it was supposed to be something that made me happy while still working at a corporate 9-5. So, I stepped back, reevaluated the parts of Discover Melange that made me happy. Read more>>

Jroc “Jasper” Noland

You can say I matured fast at age 15. I started to teach my self how to cut Hair to provide money for my self and my immediate family. Stayed consistent in it and finally started getting connected to Cut celebrities. Finally graduated from college and became brave enough to make a film about my life called #LMTMS (Letmetellmystory). Read more>>

Jimmie Williams

I was never much for sports or even the athletic type, I more so was into music and just hanging out. Shortly after high school, I had my daughter at 19 then my son at 22. To stay in shape, I started weightlifting and running, just the normal stuff to stay fit. I wasn’t the confrontational type coming but up after lifting and working I figure I could hold my own. Read more>>

Alexandra Curatolo

Belli’s started from my personal health journey after college at 20, when I wanted to cut out many of the poor eating habits I had acquired. I was living in Pilsen at this time, and enjoyed volunteering for neighborhood organizations that worked on improving quality of life for Pilsen residents. I started volunteering for the Pilsen Community Market every Sunday and enjoyed waking up early to spend my Sundays there. Read more>>

Taneisha Naylor

My business started as a result of me hitting rock bottom. I gave birth to my beautiful daughter, Royalty and two hours later, she passed away in my arms. Not to mention, I had already lost everyone and everything I ever worked hard for. I was back to square one and now having to go through the pains of losing my child suddenly. Read more>>

Jennifer L. Hodges

My interest in community development and nonprofit began in my childhood. I was raised by my mother and my grandmother in three economically contrasting neighborhoods in the heart of Detroit, Michigan. As a result of living in these contrasting neighborhoods, I understand the interconnections of education and financial stability for the advancement of underdeveloped communities and individual success. Read more>>

Charrea ‘Shay’ Sykes and Ozell Barnes

We wanted to start a business that would allow us to impact others and thankfully, we had parents that motivated us to dream big and trust that with God, we can do all things. One day, while brainstorming different ideas, we began to see just how similar our visions were and decided we could do more together than apart. After agreeing on a partnership, we decided to utilize our skills and resources and found a small location to begin building our brand.  Read more>>

Taneesha Rolland

For me, education was my catalyst from poverty and I believe everyone deserves the opportunity. Family Legacy Foundation was formed to help others change their lives and legacies through education. We want to make sure that individuals are empowered to be savvy consumers of education. Read more>>

Alicia Pack

This company is founded on free principles and the value that photography is a lost art. Another Perspective was founded in 2015 after Alicia experienced personal warfare. After many battles, she realized the only way to cope with the pain that she endured was to create. From standard photos on her iPhone 5s; before she knew anything about editing and being able to afford professional camera equipment, her photos held the power to evoke emotion from individuals who were drawn to her work. Alicia is now a lifestyle photographer, specializing in a unique style of expressing still moments through colorful and oftentimes, emotional imagery. Read more>>

Bart Schultz

I am the Director of the University of Chicago Civic Knowledge Project (CKP). The CKP was founded by MacArthur “genius grant” winner Danielle Allen in 2003, in the hope that it would use humanities programming to serve as a vehicle for cultivating civic friendship on Chicago’s South Side. Danielle got me involved with the CKP pretty much from the start, in part because I had been teaching at UChicago since 1987 and had always been a champion of community engagement work and carrying on the legacy of philosopher John Dewey, who had played an important role at UChicago from 1894 to 1904. Read more>>

1 Comment

  1. Grant Niebergall

    August 6, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I had an opportunity to browse some of the interviews. I am very excited to have been chosen for one of the future interviews as well !
    I think it’s absolutely fabulous that a magazine of your caliber has done as well as it has only because the non-corporate companies are the ones who have the true stories that are not hidden by corporate rules. At the end of the day it’s about struggle and survival compassion and success and I tip my hat to every business owner out there and every genre of work! 1 Fine Tune is excited to bring the music industry together on stages as well as in the communities of Chicago in the nation !

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