The ChrisInspiresYou story: Chris’ incredibly unique story is one of perseverance through struggle, a commitment to service and a push to inspire others to discover self, overcome their own adversity and make an impact in their respective communities. He grew up largely in a single-parent home with his FATHER, who abused drugs and alcohol, in Fayetteville, NC's poorest community and 13th poorest in the state of North Carolina where the odds of escaping poverty are slim according to a Harvard study. Chris’ father used drugs and alcohol so heavily that he nearly took his own life when Chris was just 13, writing a letter and indicating that he was “done.” Chris moved eight different times from ages five to 16, at the height of the crack-cocaine epidemic in Fayetteville, from roach-infested home to home, even spending time sleeping on the couches of others as his father spent some time under the stars. He was consistently bullied in school as he regularly wore shabby clothes, often lacked food to eat, was without heat in the winter and air in the summer, was without running water at times and was surrounded by massive drug activity, violence and prostitution in his community, even losing some of his closest childhood friends to violence and drug activity. Chris didn't meet his mother until he was 16 years old after she dropped him off at his grandmother's home when he was just six months old but never returned. Before meeting his mother, Chris spent years sifting through phone books and calling anyone who had his mother’s first name but of course, phone books list by LAST NAME. After meeting his mother in a life-changing moment in the Spring of 1997, Chris struggled mightily to build a relationship with her and in his mother’s moments of anger, she’d often tell him "I could have thrown you in the trash and no one would have ever known." Chris’ mother often claims to “disown” him and chooses to not have any connection with Chris. Chris credits his youth league baseball coach, Henry “Pap” Blue, his grandmother and grandfather, who served every third Saturday in the “hood” serving meals and served selflessly in the U.S. Army and his father, for helping him to overcome his adversity. His strong support system helped push him to earn two college degrees from North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, a nonprofit management certificate from Duke University and a commitment to serving others.
The Uniqueness of the presentation: Chris’ presentation style is one that not only allows Chris to share his amazing story but also provides a unique, intimate experience for all participants, who will have opportunities to be intimately involved and invested in the presentation. This approach sends an undeniable message to all participants that the presentation isn’t just FOR them…..it’s WITH them. By presenting in this manner, Chris encourages participants to unpack their feelings of doubt, worthlessness, uncertainty and fear in a constructive manner, which proves that they are not alone in their struggles. Chris has received dozens of letters, notes and messages from students, parents and school administrators, who were gracious and thankful for such an approach. One 11th grade student wrote “Hi Mr. Wallace. I know you already came to my school but I just wanted to tell you that ever since you came to my school, I have been taking your advice and have been changing the people around me who are trying to stop me from becoming the real me. I just want to say thank you so much. I just had to tell you that. You are a nice person and I hope you bless other kids like you blessed me. Thank you and God bless you.” As you scroll through the website and view images, videos and read testimonials, you’ll see, feel, read and hear a consistency in the enormous impact that ChrisInspiresYou makes on participants.
The Service commitment: Once you engage in dialogue with ChrisInspiresYou, we remain with you throughout the process. Before the engagement, we will reach out to ask or answer any questions that you may have while also requesting items for the presentation (IE: microphone, A/V equipment) and completing necessary paperwork (IE: tax forms, independent contractor forms, etc.). We will also provide you with our contract for review, which provides comfort for both parties. During the engagement, we will provide the highest quality presentation possible while engaging participants. Following the engagement, we will provide contact information for you and all participants to remain in touch with us while also finalizing any outstanding items (IE: Payment, participant feedback, etc.). At any point throughout the process, you will always be able to reach ChrisInspiresYou via the website (www.chrisinspiresyou.com) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We ensure that we’ll always remain connected throughout the process.
The Experience: Chris has spent the better part of the past 18 years serving others, particularly in youth development settings. He has been speaking since 2008, eventually creating the “ChrisInspiresYou” platform in May 2016 after the Fayetteville Observer newspaper published the award-winning article “It takes a village: Chris Wallace, who grew up in poverty, helps children like him.” The article, which was published on the front page of the Observer’s April 30, 2016 edition, sparked the interest of hundreds of readers and viewers, many of whom reached out to Chris and encouraged his speaking platform. His speaking has reached more than 10,000 students, business leaders, school administrators and others over the past three years, having spoken at a number of locations, including elementary, middle, high schools, colleges, youth groups, church and faith-based organizations, fundraising groups and others while making multiple appearances on radio stations such as 102 Jamz and 97.1 WQMG in Greensboro, NC. Chris has also had several articles published about his work in the Fayetteville Observer (April 2016 and November 2016), was a guest on “The First Gen” Podcast with Dr. Eve Hudson (October 2018), produced his first two documentaries “You didn’t come this far just to come THIS far” in Sept. 2018 (Part 1) and Nov. 2018 (Part 2), has served on a number of panels and has been invited to speak at a number of special events, including speaking at the departmental graduation of his alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University. His commitment and dedication to serving others includes directing the Black Child Development Institute of Greensboro’s Spirit of Excellence Tutorial Program (A United Way member agency), where he and his team of volunteers served more than (400) K-12th grade students deemed at-risk of academic failure. Chris’ work in the organization included incredible growth in student reading levels, a significant increase in the retention rate of student volunteers, sharp growth in the number of male educators taking part in the program and significant strides in the number of community hours served by volunteers and students. Chris led a team of community members, including college students, into communities to serve with full force and purpose with his work earning the organization repeated grant funding from the North Carolina Commission on Volunteerism and Community while dropping the organization from “very high risk” of funding cuts to “low risk” of funding cuts in just four years. His work has also included directing the Communiversity Youth Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a program serving local K-12th grade students, the YMCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Shield Mentoring Program, Project LIFT Academy, the National Youth Sports Program at North Carolina A&T State University and Upward Bound. Following undergraduate school, Chris spent two years serving in the Communications Department with the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers before teaching “Basic Communication Skills and Development” to adults at a local community college. He also spent nearly two years in admissions at North Carolina A&T State University, consistently traveling and speaking to high school students about college and preparation. Chris earned a degree in Mass Communication from North Carolina A&T State University, a second degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Non-Profit Management Certificate from Duke University.
The Honors and Awards: Chris is an accomplished speaker and youth leader, having earned four major awards for his work and having been award nominated ten times. In June 2020, Chris was honored as the recipient of the Erskine B. Bowles Service Award by the State of North Carolina, one of the state's highest service honors. In April 2016, Chris was honored as the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award recipient at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an award he was also nominated for in 2014 and 2018. This award is one of the University's most prestigious honors and recognizes outstanding engagement and service to the state of North Carolina. It is characterized by working in partnership with community members, inspiring and involving others in service, responding to a practical problem, issue or concern of the state and working to assure the impact is lasting. In April 2017, Chris was honored as the Special Recognition recipient of the University Diversity Award at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, becoming the first person to win both the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award and the University Diversity Award in successive years. This award, considered the University's highest recognition for diversity efforts, recognizes commitment to diversity and inclusion. It also recognizes individuals and organizations for exemplary service or scholarship in promoting diversity, equity, social justice, community engagement and cultural awareness. In February 2017, Chris was recognized as the Hometown Hero Award Winner through WCHL Radio Station. Former UNC basketball star and alum Phil Ford provided the keynote address. This award is provided to an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty, are serious about making change and working collaboratively to make the local community a better place to live. Also in 2017, Chris was nominated for the Salute to Heroes Award through the American Red Cross, an award that is provided to individuals who perform an act of heroism, demonstrate extraordinary courage or perform humanitarian deeds throughout the community. In 2019, Chris was nominated for the "Hall of Famer" award by the Employee Forum.
The Pricing: The ChrisInspiresYou experience includes HOURS upon HOURS of research, preparation, practice and refinement to provide participants one of the most impactful experiences that they’ll ever take part in. We don’t just show up with a PowerPoint presentation in hand and read from the screen. The ChrisInspiresYou experience is a unique, creative and clean experience, which captures the “moment” and allows participants an opportunity to feel very much a part of the experience. This, along with transportation, lodging, meals and workshop details (IE: Desired length of workshop, breakout sessions, videography, etc) are factored in when determining cost, which will ALWAYS be a fair, reasonable and below-market cost for anyone who inquires about our services. Chris also works directly with each school/business/organization to determine a cost that is reasonable and comfortable for both parties.