At 18-years-old, Chris J. Suggs is a nonprofit visionary, award-winning speaker, community leader, and neighborhood hope dealer.

At 18-years-old, Chris is a nonprofit CEO, entrepreneur, community leader, and neighborhood hope dealer.

Chris is the Founder & CEO of Kinston Teens, Inc., a nonprofit organization he started in October 2014 operating at the intersections of youth empowerment and community development. From transforming vacant lots into neighborhood amenities, to building platforms for young people to be involved in government and make their voices heard, Kinston Teens works to ensure that Chris’s peers and local community are both thriving.

Chris is also the Founder & CEO of Youth Impact Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in helping adults better impact the lives of young people, and young people better impact the world. Chris and his team have experiences ranging from running successful nonprofits, to working with national political figures on youth engagement strategy.

Since August 2016, Chris has served as the youngest appointee to the North Carolina Governor’s Crime Commission, the state advisory board overseeing the Governor on issues relating to crime, justice, and law enforcement. Chris is a champion for youth leadership and youth voice, and has worked to promote these important values on platforms and with companies such as Facebook, Nickelodeon, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room Campaign, CNN, ABC News 20/20, and The Huffington Post.

Chris is currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Religion.


Media Appearances

  • National Television: Featured as a special guest on NBC’s daytime television talk show The Real (January 2016, April 2017), ABC News Digital’s 20/20 (August 2016), TV One’s News One Now (September 2016), appearance on CNN (October 2016), a special guest on HLN’s Michaela (October 2016), and as an honoree at the Nickelodeon HALO Awards (November 2016).
  • Local Television: Frequent appearances and interviews on: WCTI-12 (New Bern, NC); WNCT-9 (Greenville, NC); WITN-7 (Greenville, NC); Down East Today (Kinston, NC); The Reece Gardner Hour (Kinston, NC); Journey Magazine (Internet); and more.
  • Radio Appearances: Multiple appearances on 9 Kiss FM (New Bern, NC), 92.10 Choice FM (Raleigh, NC), 100.5 Surge FM (Duplin County, NC), Vyzion Radio (Raleigh, NC - Internet)
  • Written Media (Print & Digital): Kinston Free Press, New Bern Sun Journal, Teen VogueHuffington PostNorth State Journal, The Conservative Review, TheRoot.comNewser.com, and more.

Awards & Recognitions

  • 2016 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award – Recipient (March 2017)
  • 2016 HALO Awards (Nickelodeon) – Honoree (November 2016)
  • 2017 NC Heritage Calendar (AT&T) – Honoree (October 2016)
  • 2015 Class of 20-Under-40 (The Free Press) - Recipient (February 2016)
  • 2016 Global Teen Leader (We Are Family Foundation) - Recipient (December 2015)
  • Youth of the Year Award (NC Gang Investigators’ Association) – Recipient (August 2015)
  • Youth Leadership Award (Kinston Evening Rotary Club) – Honoree (July 2015)
  • Inaugural Emerging Leader Award (Young Professionals of Lenoir County) – Recipient (January 2015)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Keeper of the Dream Award – Recipient (January 2015)
  • Kinston-Lenoir County Teens & Kids Who Care Award – Recipient (2012, 2013, 2014)

Education

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — 2017-2021
Sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Political Science & Religion with an expected graduation with the Class of 2021. Recipient of the Carolina Scholarship; recipient of the Light on the Hill Scholarship; selected for the Honors Carolina program; and recipient of the Carolina Covenant scholarship. Secretary for UNC's Black Student Movement.

Lenoir Community College — 2015-2017
Participant in the College & Career Promise College Pathways program, taking general education courses to transfer to a four-year college or university upon graduation from high school.

Kinston High School — 2014-2017
Honors-level student who graduated high school in three years instead of four. Officer in the Student Government Association, where he served as Freshman and Sophomore Class President for the Class of 2018. Additionally, represented the Class of 2018 as Freshmen and Sophomore Homecoming Prince for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years; and represented the Class of 2017 as a member of the Homecoming Court for the 2016-17 academic year.