Skyler is 30 years old and has lived in Chicago his entire life. “My neighborhood is beautiful and I live around beautiful people.” he describes. After attending college in central Illinois, Skyler went back to Chicago and worked as a chef for two years, ultimately starting a catering company.
He heard about UpTogether through a friend that wanted Skyler to join his group. Around this same time he decided he wanted to change his career to an artist.. “I didn’t want to cook as a chef anymore. I was able to do side jobs to support myself [through my transition into the Art industry], but being able to sit back and have the opportunity to figure out what was my next strategic move without having to participate in a race for income, UpTogether funds definitely helped with that” Skyler said.
His UpTogether group was composed of mostly people in the age range of 26-30. “The connection we had was pretty dynamic.” Skyler describes. “It was a great experience to sit down, talk and get to know each other better. It was easy to be transparent and share our goals.” Throughout the pandemic, the group still found creative ways to check in with each other on a monthly basis.
Skyler says the biggest benefit of the group aspect of UpTogether is seeing people have economic freedom. “To see people not have to ask or go through creditory systems. Knowing what everyone's challenges and goals were and being able to go directly to UpTogether for assistance, but also get emotional support by being in the group.”