Photo by Max Herman. Published in the TCR Talks series of the Chicago Reporter.
Philip Nevels stands on Chicago's Jackson Boulevard Bridge downtown. The structure symbolizes the work he does with High Jump, an academic enrichment program designed to help build bridges of opportunity for local youth.
Philip Nevels grew up near the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Thanks to his single mother and a unique academic enrichment program called High Jump, he attended a military boarding school, graduated from Princeton University, started a business, met his wife and started a family back here in Chicago.
And just this summer, Nevels assumed the role of vice chairman of High Jump’s Board of Trustees, giving back to the program that has given so much to him. He mentors new High Jump students—High Jumpers, as they are called—and helps his fellow alumni support each other professionally and personally.
“My life is basically my wife and three daughters, my professional career, and High Jump. And that's pretty much all I do,” Nevels says. “I encounter a lot of people who have achieved phenomenal success. And a lot of them forget how hard it was to get there, forget how many people it took to get them there. I haven't forgotten. And inasmuch as I can make progress easier for someone else who's 13 or 14 years old, I would like to.”
The Reporter recently met with Nevels to talk about his life and the impact of High Jump.
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