CTK Grad Making a Difference on Chicago's West Side

At just 23 years old, Vincente Taylor ’14 has been working at Marillac St. Vincent Family Services for almost 10 years. He originally started as a summer Jr. Counselor to make some extra money, but his role has evolved to that of a full-time Sports-Based Youth Development Counselor/Coach in the Hope Junior program. He has become a community leader and mentor relied on by over one hundred young people between the ages of 5 and 18 who go to the West Side facility each afternoon.  Vincente said recently, “I try to be someone they can count on to be there for them, to talk about anything going in their lives. We provide a safe outlet for sports, music, and to speak freely about how they feel.”

Vincente considers his CTK experience to have been “life-changing,” and put him on a path to helping and to make a difference in the community that he grew up in.  At CTK, Vincente embraced being open to growth and new opportunities. He played basketball and took photos for the Yearbook.  His experiences in the classroom and at his Corporate Work Study jobs at HSBC Banking, the Chicago Blackhawks, and Marshall Gerstein helped to prepare him for the real world through the example and guidance of a diverse group of teachers and experienced business people.  He also credits his participation in the annual CTK retreats for first learning the importance of “taking your mask off to be real and getting to know people better,” something he uses with the young people he interacts with daily. 

Unlike many of the kids he works with, Vincente grew up with both parents at home. His parents worked hard to allow him, his sister, Lexi ’15, now a student at Malcom X, and brother Ahmad, a current CTK senior, to attend CTK. They also took out loans so that Vincente could go to Columbia College for two years. He transferred to the Malcom X nursing program, where he earned his Nursing Assistant certificate, and hopes to return to complete his nursing degree. Throughout that time, he has continued to be a positive presence at Marillac St. Vincent.  

Vincente was recently featured in the Marillac St. Vincent annual report, and a “Lights of Chicago” video. He said, “Every day I see the potential of the kids in our programs that often times they can’t see in themselves.”  He strives to help young people achieve their hopes and dreams.  He says the best part of his job is, “Giving back. I grew up in the area, so a lot of the things they are going through, I also experienced. I help by staying here and trying to make a difference. They know I’m there for them every day. And they’re there for me, too.”  Thank you, Vincente!