By Melissa Beneke Aurora University Alum, CheJuana Stiles, currently is working at Circle Urban MinistByries in Chicago’s Westside. Stiles graduated in 2009 with a degree in Business Administration. She discovered Circle Urban through AmeriCorps.
Circle Urban Ministries’ mission statement, according to their website, is “Transforming Chicago’s Westside through faith in action.”
Circle Urban has been a part of the Austin community for over 35 years as a Christian ministry. Their goal is to reach out to the community as an active ministry. By doing so, they meet immediate needs through food pantries, emergency funds, chaplain services, shaping the future through their four youth development programs and leveraging resources through relationships with like-minded non profits.
Stiles works in the College Readiness program for 7th grade and 9th-12th grade youth. Her time in the college readiness program is attributed to her time in Communities in Schools, a program that partners with Aurora University to reach out to local schools.
Through CIS, she served at Beaupre Elementary school.
“It was at this elementary school in 2006 that I first had the opportunity to work in an academic setting.” Stiles said. “Since that very first day, I knew that youth development was my niche.” Stiles’ day to day job is filled with correspondence to parents, writing bible studies, planning trips, planning lessons and researching youth development statistics that relate to her work with young, African-American youth in an under-resourced community.
“I am encouraged,” Stiles said about her experience through Circle Urban. “Encouraged to serve, embrace and empower the young people in Austin. I live where they live, I shop where they shop and I understand their fears.”
Stile’s time at Circle Urban has been really impactful for her. She has received a chance to learn more about ministry and service.
For Stiles, her job is more than just a job.
“No other experience in my life has opened my mind to a life of servant hood in ministry.” Stiles said.
Circle Urban Ministries Homepage: http://www.circleurban.org/hist.htm