Darius Ballinger

2021 Chicago Peace Fellow
Executive Director, Chasing 23 Youth Empowerment Group

Chasing23 started as a life changing decision for Founder and CEO Darius Ballinger. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago as a young black man, raised by a single mother can be a unique experience. Suspensions and expulsions, drugs and guns, arrests and funerals, and other decisions that shorten life spans. On April 12, 2013, Founder Darius Ballinger, was facing a mandatory minimum of 3-5 years prison sentence for past convictions. He was offered a plea deal of 2 years probation and 90 days jail time. In that same evening, Darius spoke his last words to his mentor; he would find out the next day Wayne was fatally stabbed. Devastated and determined, Darius decided to make a change. One that would have a good impact, remembering the years of advice from of his mentor Wayne. The impact became Chasing23; Chasing Greatness.