Thank you to Chris Schaffner for delivering a powerful, informative, motivating, and interactive message to our junior high and high school students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Along with highlighting the dangers of drugs and alcohol, Mr. Schaffner talked about healthy choices our students can make and stressed how it is important and helpful to treat others well.

Mr. Schaffner was able to connect with our students in both a fun and informative manner.  He empowered our students with information in efforts to help and encourage them to make positive choices. The feedback I received from students was a great appreciation for Mr. Schaffner’s fun and informative speaking style vs. being a part of a more traditional “don’t do this” speech. 

Mr. Schaffner has a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge through his work and research as a certified addictions counselor.  He was able to share his experiences in a riveting manner that really prompted our students to stop and think about their choices. 

Delavan C.U.S.D. #703 is very thankful and appreciative of Mr. Schaffner’s presentation.  He is truly making a difference in the lives of young people.

Dr. Matt Gordon – Principal Delavan High School

I have been very impressed with Chris Schaffner as a professional contact in my general field of youth at risk. I profited from his well-organized and highly informative work and found him to be highly knowledgeable in his field of expertise and practice.

Fr. Dean Borgman -Charles E. Culpeper Professor of Youth Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Conversations on the Fringe deal with the issues that everyone knows exists, but are afraid to talk about.  They are equipping the church to be ready to respond to these issues so youth have a chance to deal with the pain of growing up today.   UYWI is so thankful we have them on call for the urban leaders in our network.

John Lewis

Western Regional Director, UYWI (Urban Youth Workers Institute)

Anyone who can make it beyond a year mentoring youth is my hero. Chris has over a dozen years working with and mentoring hurting and broken teenagers. Chris blogs about important and current adolescent topics through his site: Conversations on the Fringe. When I reflect on his words and his passion for youth, I never fail to see youth work from a different perspective. Get to know Chris and Conversations on the Fringe and you won’t see your role the same either.

Paul Turner, Director, Disciple Project Ministries

Over the past several years I have had the good fortune to operate in similar Chicago charitable circles as Chris and witness his steadfast commitment to those who society often takes little time with. I admire his willingness to continually persevere on behalf of the less fortunate at personal cost.

I recommend you take time getting to know more about him and his work. I believe you’ll come away as impressed with his character and integrity as I have.”

Jimmy Spencer, Founder, Love Without Agenda

Chris is an engaging public speaker, and I believe he will be very effective in working students and their families. I gave a presentation on listening skills for parents at South Side Mission as part of a program that Chris brought to them. At other sessions, I had the opportunity to observe Chris as he gave his presentations. He has a compelling personal story to tell, and I believe he will continue to impact the world for good in many capacities.

Caryl Schlicher, math and English tutor, Illinois Central College

I support Conversations on the Fringe because I work with teenagers every Monday – Friday in my classroom. I teach English, but my role is much greater than that. Teachers have to be good role models, show compassion, listen for what we are not hearing from our students and try to keep them motivated to learn, despite a myriad of personal problems. I need every tool I can get to try to empathize with my students. Conversations on the Fringe is one of the best tools for me. It helps me to gain an understanding of perspectives my students might be experiencing so that I can be on alert if a student needs serious help. Each time I read a posting, I am brought that much closer to a student in need. As I educate them, I educate myself, too.

Angie Stokes-Ingram – High School English Teacher

Conversations on the Fringe has my support in bridging the gap between society and the mental health community. As a senior in college, I have high hopes to impact and educate others about many mental health issues that are continually changing. With the help of the people involved in the Fringe, more people are being educated and informed on issues they may have not been told about elsewhere. They use a non-threatening approach to their audiences in order to educate them. The Fringe speaks of mental health issues that may seem uncomfortable to talk about with teens, parents, and others to better their lives.

Kaitlyn O’Shea – Youth Ministry College Student and Supporter of CotF

We had Chris do three sessions at our church on a Sunday in September. He did a fantastic job of relating the issues our kids face and how we can them navigate the challenges up growing up in today’s culture. All ages gained something from the topics shared. Thanks Chris for inspiring us to engage young people, especially those on the margins.

Pastor Jim King – Ebenezer Mennonite Church in Bluffton, Ohio

How does one sum up an entire lifetime of knowing an incredible person and seeing all they do every day to help those around him? Chris has been there for me since I was in elementary school. I still remember when he drove me home from his wife’s dance studio because I managed to get a splinter in my toe and wouldn’t let anyone else help me. He’s also been there for my high school friends when they were facing some of their toughest life challenges. Now that I’m 24, I still see never-ending, genuine love, guidance, and support from him to anyone he meets. He has always been a great listener, he offers sound advice and support to those who need him. Chris puts himself in any situation to help those around him. He’s an incredible father, husband, friend, and mentor. You’ll never meet anyone so giving, brave, and genuine. He’s trustworthy, hard-working, humble, and knowledgeable. Chris has always been a great mentor to me and others in the community.

Kalie Butler – Student

I’ve known Chris for well over a decade. Having kids the same age at the same small school, you get acquainted with most parents and become friends with others. I consider Chris a friend. Chris is one of the cool parents that kids naturally gravitate to and instinctively trust. He is able to connect with them and establish a strong rapport. He creates a safe place for all, and I’ve seen on many occasions Chris open his home and heart to hurting students. I’ve sat in the Schaffner’s living room with our high schoolers and their friends, crying with and praying for a family rocked to the core by suicide. I’ve seen him interact with my daughters through the years, and know first-hand the respect and trust he’s earned. He is a fun and positive role model for countless kids; he helps them feel appreciated, valued, and confident about their future. Students respond to his genuine caring. He listens, he sees, he shares, he loves. Chris is passionate about everything he does and compassionate toward everyone he works with. Our small community—and especially our student community—are blessed to have him as an ally, friend and mentor.

Kristi Turner – Parent

I met Chris roughly 15 years ago and to be honest we did bump heads a little bit at first but he turned out to be the biggest influence on me and challenged me to take a good look at myself and the toxic relationship that I was in and how it was destroying me mentally and physically. As the years went by I would run into him from time to time and he would sit down and talk with me about how my life was going and put me in the right direction as best as he could. He has been there for me and done things for me that no person in the world would do, not even my mother and father. He is a true godsend and has helped me realize how good of a person I really am and the potential that I really have.

Eric Webber

Chris has been a mentor of mine since I was a teenager. He has always been reliable to offer support and guidance when needed. He never made me feel incompetent or a nuisance. Chris was a huge adult help when there was a lot of traumatic events happening in my life. He and his wife were always around, ready & willing to help me and my family however and whenever possible. He was a big influence as to why I went into the educational realm. I would recommend his mentoring to anyone who is considering it. I’m thankful for the relationship and friendship that developed from our time together.

Kaitlyn Gunter – Former Student