Posted by StreetWise in Vendor ProfilesChorise Stewart is a new face around the StreetWise office. He came to the organization this past summer and is highly regarded by the staff and his fellow vendors as a man of great character… someone you can trust.
Chorise (pronounced “Choice”) is currently living in Cornerstone Shelter, 4628 N. Clifton Avenue in Uptown. However, this is his very first time ever being without a home. As a young boy, Chorise’s passion was music. He was remarkably gifted on the saxophone and always dreamed of pursuing a career playing and producing jazz music. In 1989, he went on to college at Jackson State University majoring in music and began a journey that he hoped would end in a career-dream-come-true.
But after only a year of schooling, Chorise’s family fell on financial troubles and he was forced to drop out of school and return home.
For nearly 15 years, Chorise gained a hoard of professional experience working an array of jobs, such as a radiology clerk at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights, a verification clerk at Brinks and a telemarketing service tepresentative at TTC Marketing Solutions. He even enrolled at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights and graduated in 2003, receiving an associates of applied science degree.
But in 2006, after years of feeling dissatisfaction because his true passion – music – had been taken away from him early on, he began to spiral downward and got mixed up with a bad crowd. He became addicted to drugs and eventually entered rehab at Haymarket Center in Chicago. He was able to get cleaned up and even took a job at the center that aided his recovery.
Chorise became a member of the Repairs of the Breech Ministries located at 4246 W. Lake St., where he found his greatest support system during and after his addiction period. “They loved me when I didn’t know how to love myself. They listened to me when no one else would. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Chorise said.
In 2008, during the economic downturn, Chorise was laid off once again and, unable to afford rent, was eventually put out onto the streets.
Chorise had a small amount of money in his pocket, which he used to migrate from the south suburbs to downtown Chicago. He had hoped to find more opportunities in the city. He stumbled upon a man on a corner selling StreetWise and asked how he could do the same. That’s when he was pointed in the right direction. He found the StreetWise office, attended a training orientation the next week and has been with the organization ever since.
“StreetWise has given me an opportunity to do networking here and keep money in my pocket. They’ve given me an opportunity to network with a lot of wonderful people who support me by buying the magazine,” Chorise said.
Because of Chorise’s clear work ethic, sincerity and drive to do better, StreetWise has asked him to take on the responsibility of a Quality Assurance Team member. As he looks for work, a mirage of that dream that he wanted so long ago still lingers near him each day. “I love music… I love, love, love music and I want to play again,” Chorise said. “But I just want a comfortable, spiritual life. I want an emotionally and financially stable life and to be in some type of position to lend assistance [to people], since I am now seeing firsthand what it really is like to be homeless.”