Chicago is the third largest country in the United States with a population of over 2.7 Million citizens

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Meet the Cohorts

While this city is frequently making headlines for its violence, racial segregation and corruption, a different story is being told amongst the local church. Young professionals who came to grow their careers are coming to faith, and they are longing for a better future for the city they call home.

So we’re launching the Chicago Cohort, cultivating the potential of young professionals to see their positions and training as a way to make God’s name great in a city that so desperately needs to know. Stay tuned as these aspiring young professional are trained to maximize their impact and steward their gifts and influence for Gospel impact in their city.

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I chose to join the cohort, because I found myself asking “Is this all there is to Christian living after college”?

During my time at InterVarsity, I learned that the Gospel is so much more than just bringing people to church so that they can become Christian. It is about bringing God’s kingdom to earth; acting as agents of change in order to restore the world to what God had intended for our world to be. After college, it seemed like the picture of Christianity that I was presented was so small. It seemed like my eyes had been opened to God’s heart and desire for this world, only for my eyes to be closed again. I found myself wrestling with how to use my career and my gifts to further advance the Gospel. Simply telling my co-workers about Jesus wasn’t enough for me; there had to be more.

I see Chicago Cohort as an answer to those questions. I hope to learn how others in business have practically used their skills to further the Gospel. I hope to connect with others who share the same passions that I have about bringing restoration to Chicago. Finally, I hope to learn how I personally can use my skills and talents to begin addressing the segregation and socioeconomic divides in the city.

I was working in corporate recruiting and realized as companies raised their desperation to hire more females and diverse candidates in the tech space, the population in the candidate pools were not growing.

I was also learning that women from lower resourced communities are more inclined to use their income to benefit their neighborhood and communities when they become successful. So trends show that men are more inclined (and maybe even taught) to get up and get out, so they get a job and a wife and move out of that community, whereas women are actually more inclined to invest their profits to local organizations, libraries and school programs.

So, I saw a connection. Companies have a need of hiring more women and diverse candidates, and communities have women who are ready to be the change but simply lack the resources to do so. There had to be a way to funnel the necessary resources to these areas, and Brave Initiatives was born – born to bring resources to lower income women paid for by the companies who are trying to fill a need in their industry. We run programs for high school girls to empower them to be agents of change in their communities through training in design thinking, coding skills and leadership development!

Jen is a 2016 Chicago Cohort participant, and is an excellent example of a young professional applying her marketplace skills as ministry skills.

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