Staff Spotlight: Chris Orantes

Chris Orantes has been a dedicated member of the Bench Mark team since 2017. His title is Open Gym Program Director, and he excels as a mentor to our students whose passion for fitness is evident in his consistent, unwavering presence in the gym. Everyone at Bench Mark can lean on Chris for support, guidance, and encouragement. Learn more about Chris and what he loves about being a part of the Bench Mark Program team.

What has been your favorite thing about being a part of Bench Mark Program?


One of the first things I sensed from the moment I first walked into Bench Mark was the culture/environment that’s palpable when you’re down there. It was a cool experience and it has been even better now that I’ve been a part of it.

What do you hope the students can learn from you and your experiences?

I think, over the years, I’ve learned how powerful the tool of perspective can be. Whether that be how you, personally, view the world or walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. I hope that I’m able to show our students how useful that skill can be in life.

Why do you think Bench Mark is so important to the Lancaster community?

I remember how important and supportive my coaches were to me growing up. I believe Bench Mark offers the same kind of support that I received when I needed guidance and mentoring as a teenager trying to make sense of it all while also giving me a sense of purpose.

What is your favorite sports team?

I usually say anything New York so: Giants, Yankees, Knicks, Rangers.

What are some of your hobbies / things you do in your free time?

When I have time, I’m actually a big movie guy. I enjoy going to the movie theater and checking out what’s new and kind of turning my brain off for a couple of hours.

If you were a superhero, what would you want your super power to be and what would you do with it?

It’s a close one between super intelligence and super strength but I think I’ll go with strength. I think there’s a lot you could do with it especially at the gym.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

If I’m allowed to be unhealthy without consequences, my favorite food is this Salvadoran dish called Pupusas which are essentially tortillas stuffed with pork and cheese. I would eat them every day if I could, so it’s probably a good thing that my mom only makes them from time to time.

What is your spirit animal and why?

This is a good one. Probably a bear I would say. Aside from being big, bears are pretty resourceful and agile despite their size. I like to think I am too, sometimes.

What is one goal you would like to accomplish in your lifetime?

I’m just hoping that at the end of it, I’m remembered for never being too busy or too important to help someone who needed it. Hopefully I can leave the world a little better of a place than when I came in.