Personal Stories

  • Bre’anna’s Story

    Bre’anna’s Story Bre’anna, 17, knows what it feels like to be afraid. Born in a small town in Illinois, she, her mother and her brother moved often throughout the state. When she was a freshman, the family moved to Chicago. Bre’anna enrolled at Collins Academy High School in North Lawndale, where she was introduced to… Read more »

    View
  • Johnny Banks

    Johnny Banks We’ve all heard that your life flashes before your eyes in the moments before death. 20 year old Johnny Banks has lived it. In October 2012 Johnny was shot. A single bullet passed through his wrist and into his chest resulting in a collapsed lung. He was in the hospital for nine days…. Read more »

    View
  • Elisabet Ortiz

      June 6, 2013 was a life changing evening for Elisabet Ortiz. Not only was she recognized for her academic and personal achievements at UCAN’s 14th Annual Youth Leadership Awards Dinner, but she also met UCAN President’s Board member Bob Loveman. Bob and his wife Gail live in Boulder, Colorado, which is the home of… Read more »

    View
  • Colleen Collins UCAN Academy School Educator

    Colleen Collins UCAN Academy School Educator “The kids keep you here,” replies a determined Colleen Collins when asked why she chooses to teach at UCAN Academy. Colleen is an elementary school educator who started working at the school four years ago. “Students at UCAN Academy come from low economic backgrounds, have disabilities and often have… Read more »

    View
  • Tyrone Cooper, UCAN employee

    Tyrone Cooper, UCAN employee Tyrone Cooper, former UCAN client and current UCAN employee Tyrone first came to UCAN in 1987 at the age of 14. One of a family of ten, Tyrone never knew his father. As a small child, Tyrone lived with his family in a Chicago Housing Authority development on 63rd Street. He… Read more »

    View
  • Scott Lang, former UCAN client

    Scott Lang, former UCAN client In 2009, Scott Lang started his new career as Vice Consul at the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal, Canada, where he interviews intending U.S. immigrants. He joined the State Department because he wanted to be a part of the push for peace. Scott has been working to achieve peace and… Read more »

    View
  • Bryan James

    Bryan James Bryan James, a 20 year old Transitional Living Program (TLP) client and a Project Visible Man (PVM) participant, entered the foster care system at the age of seven. Often shifting in and out of group homes, James struggled in school and at home. At the age of 19, he moved in with Gerald… Read more »

    View
  • Tiffany Lewis, 2008 John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholar

    Tiffany Lewis, 2008 John E. Rooney Dynamic Scholar In 2003 at age 13, Tiffany Lewis joined UCAN’s Young Leadership Development Institute (YLDI). Tiffany and other aspiring young leaders were trained to become change agents through developing community service projects and community outreach events that focused on educating peers on the dangers of gun violence, risky… Read more »

    View
  • Jasmine Allen

    Jasmine Allen has known struggle. At 18 months old, she was taken from her mother’s home for reasons of neglect. Her mother, who is presently incarcerated, was unable to care for her. Jasmine lived with her paternal grandparents for ten years, and at the age of thirteen, went to live with her father. It was… Read more »

    View