From the White House to the Capitol Building, to boardrooms and city halls, young people are often left out of the decisions that most affect them.
That’s why, at 14 years old, Christopher J. Suggs founded Kinston Teens in October of 2014. Already a recognized voice and representative of youth in his community, he started Kinston Teens as an effort to amplify the voices of all of the youth of Kinston, and to create civic engagement and community service opportunities for his peers.
With a population of only around 21,000, Kinston, North Carolina has been ranked among the highest in North Carolina for violent crimes. Throughout 2014, our city experienced over 61 reported shootings with the average age of victims and offenders in these shootings being 21 years old. Needless to say, this issue affects our city’s young people. Chris recognized this, and worked to combat it by providing positive alternatives for our community’s youth though volunteerism.
In the short time that Kinston Teens has been active, it has worked hard to include young people in the efforts to better our community. Kinston Teens has organized award-winning leadership development initiatives, and has been recognized on local, state, national and global platforms for its efforts. Since 2014, Kinston Teens has made an impact on the lives of over 3,000 youth through our membership efforts, Youth Summit, community workshops, volunteer initiatives, leadership development seminars, and programs and assemblies at local schools.
Kinston Teens is proud to have had such measurable success in a considerably short amount of time. We’re grateful for the support we’ve had from our community, and look forward to continuing our efforts to improve our great city!
- Adopt-A-Vacant Lot
- Annual Youth Leadership Summit
- Kinston Community Youth Choir
- Kinston Teens Vision Garden
- Youth Leadership & Resource Center
- Youth ELE Program
- 2015 NC Program of Excellence Award
- 2016 Global Teen Leader Recognition
- 2016 Nickelodeon HALO Awards
- 2016 Wells Fargo & USCOM "CommunityWins" Outstanding Achievement
Memberships & Affiliations
- Kinston-Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce
- Black Youth Network
- Kinston Community Relations Team
- NC Center for Safer Schools Student Advisory Council
- Old North State Medical Foundation
- Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!)
Chris J. Suggs
Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Born and raised in Kinston, North Carolina, 18-year-old Christopher "Chris" Suggs strives to make a lasting difference in his hometown. In addition to serving as Founder & CEO of Kinston Teens, Chris serves as Co-Founder & Chairman of Black Youth Network, Inc. — a national nonprofit with a mission of connecting and empowering young African-American leaders who are making positive contributions to our society, culture and world; as well as the youngest appointee to the NC Governor's Crime Commission. Chris has worked with and been featured by major platforms including Nickelodeon, The Huffington Post, Teen Vogue Magazine, Facebook and First Lady Michelle Obama. Chris is currently a student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying Political Science and Religion.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors of Kinston Teens is responsible for the development of policy and major decision-making for the organization. Additionally, the Board is responsible for ensuring that the purpose and mission of Kinston Teens is strictly followed, and that adequate funding opportunities are pursued for the sustainability of the organization.
MRS. CANDIDA BROWN-GORHAM
Wayne County Department of Social Services
MR. JOHN COWARD
East Carolina Vocational Center
MR. BRYAN HANKS
Marketing & Community Outreach
Down East Wood Ducks
MRS. CARMEN MITCHELL-CHERRY
Greene Lamp, Inc.
MS. KRISTAL SUGGS
City of Kinston
MR. RASHAD SUGGS
MR. SHANNON WHITFIELD
St. John FWB Church
and our Chief Executive Officer and members of our Youth Leadership Council serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of our Board of Directors