Project: VISION, Inc.

Rating: 5 stars   18 reviews

Issues:

Location: 2301 S Archer Ave Unit #3 Chicago IL 60616 USA

Mission: Project: VISION, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 with a mission to provide youth of Chicago’s Chinatown and Bridgeport communities with tools for educational, personal, and civic development. In the fall of 2004, volunteers piloted a homework tutoring program in borrowed space at the local library and Boys and Girls Club. Since then, Project: VISION has moved on to its own space in Chinatown and has reached over 300 youths with its programs while remaining primarily volunteer-run and continuing to provide all programs free to youth. Project: VISION takes a holistic approach to youth development, with a goal of helping each youth achieve success in all areas of life by providing positive role models and positive activities. We strive to help youth build strengths, develop skills, gain confidence and positive attitudes that will help them succeed in school and beyond as future community leaders.
Target demographics: Project: VISION serves youth ages 12-21 in Chicago’s Chinatown, Bridgeport, and surrounding neighborhoods. Youths seek out our organization for many reasons and needs; some are looking for a means to connect with peers and mentors, and some seek to receive homework help, while others want to get involved in the community. Still, our community is often overlooked as underserved; in reality, many of the youths Project: VISION serve are from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Currently, 96% of Project: VISION youths are Chinese American, with 90% from low-income first generation immigrant families. While many families come to this country seeking better opportunities for their children, language, long work hours in service-oriented jobs, and little understanding of the American education system are all barriers to the parental involvement youth need. This leaves many youth in need of guidance, support, and encouragement, which after school programs like ours can help provide.
Programs: Since the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year, Project: VISION’s programs have served 65 youths, providing services to an average of 50 youths each week in several core programs. Programs take place in a 1200 square foot facility consisting of two classrooms, one general tutoring area, library, and computer area with three student workstations. The Youth Center is open from Mondays-Thursdays from 2-7pm. The After School Homework Tutoring Program is the cornerstone of Project: VISION’s programs as education is the key to future success and eventually to building a stronger community. Tutoring is available at the Youth Center during all hours of operation and is staffed with volunteer tutors available for homework help and one-on-one tutoring. In addition to fostering academic success in terms of helping students improve grades and test scores, the program also strives to help students develop effective academic skills and build appreciation for learning that will serve them well as they move on to college and beyond. So far, in the first semester of this school year, 40 students have benefited the program, increased from serving 30 students over the entire last school year, attesting to the need for this program. The program retention rate is 85%, and on average each student receives six hours of tutoring per week (increased from an average of five hours per week last year). Upon enrolling, each student now completes an initial assessment, consisting of a set of three academic goals and objectives. After the first semester, preliminary estimates show that 70% of tutored students are meeting at least one objective under each academic goal. Furthermore, student surveys show that participants recognize the benefits of the program: 89% feel the program helps them do better in school, while 72% feel more confident at school, and 56% feel tutors help them improve their study skills. Every Project: VISION student should aim to attend college, and the College Prep program has helped many students achieve this. We continue to send 100 percent of our high school seniors to college after preparing them with programs such as ACT test prep classes, college application, essay writing, and financial aid workshops throughout the school year. The ACT prep program has been particularly successful; over the years, the program has prepared over 100 students for the exam, with over 70% achieving a 2-point or greater improvement in composite scores. Leadership opportunities and community service are fundamental to positive youth development. While many youths seek service opportunities to fulfill school requirements (Chicago Public School high school students are required to complete 40 community service hours prior to graduation), Project: VISION strives to foster a sense of social responsibility in youth that goes beyond obligation. Project: Youth Initiative is a service learning program that aims to provide meaningful service learning opportunities that help youth learn about the problems in their community, develop positive attitudes toward service, and understand the importance of volunteerism. These are the experiences that will encourage youth to stay involved and help them grow into active community members willing to give back to others. Each semester, Project: Youth Initiative provides three service opportunities to students. Last school year, 50 youths participated in community service projects, collectively earning over 500 service learning hours, and this year, 30 youth have already collectively participated in 270 service hours after one semester. Youths engaged in many projects including recycling projects, community health fairs, production of an anti-tobacco public service announcement, and a community anti-obesity campaign. These meaningful projects have helped youth build positive attitudes toward community service. For example, after participating in an anti-tobacco service project, 90% of students stated that they learned something new and that as a result of the program are encouraged to continue volunteering in the community!
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I have a Project:VISION Board member for the last three years, and have watched excitedly as the organization has grown and expanded. As a Asian-American myself, I have a particular heart for the Asian American community in Chicago. Contrary to what many may think, there are Asian Americans who represent an underserved (and low-income) population. Project:VISION uniquely serves this demographic, providing homework help/tutoring and college test prep classes free of charge. Additionally, there is a huge focus on service learning, which is also particularly important to me. By getting its students involved in civic engagement of their community, PV's goal is to help its students grow to be well-rounded and caring citizens. If funding allows, PV would like to continue to expand to also provide ESL classes/services to help students new to America to adjust and thrive.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Rating: 5 stars  

Project Vision is a small organization that is currently serving mostly low-income youth in the Bridgeport and Chinatown area in Chicago. It fosters academic growth and leadership-building in young adults by offering free programs for after-school tutoring, service learning opportunities, college-prep exam courses and long-lasting mentors found in the staff. Being a volunteer with this organization has allowed me to give back to the community that essentially raised me and my family during our personal hardship emigrating to the United States. Education and volunteerism have thus been essential in achieving my goals and becoming successful. Project Vision has grown from it's small grassroots organization into an expanding program that is stretching at the seams. Currently, Project Vision must place youth seeking it's services on a waiting list because our resources have been limited. Another reason for increasing enrollment numbers is the retention. It was just the other day at a committee board meeting, that I learned many of the students have been long-time participants. One student was pointed out having been with Project Vision since the 6th grade and she is preparing for college. Another was a Project Vision student-turned-tutor post-college. This proves that the organization has retention and also reflects the inspiration to give back to the community. Despite of these rewarding results, it's been a challenge to stretch our dollars to meet the needs of the organization. At times Project Vision must prioritize hiring staff for planning and development over supplies and equipment for the students. However, despite the budget crises faced every board meeting, the leadership is very dedicated and determined to build the organization's funding reserves. Clocking in almost 30 hours a week every other week, the executive director coordinates much of the program- from tutoring to grant-writing, she generously does this without pay. This type of commitment has inspired me to join the general board and assist in fundraising events, marketing, and reaching out to the community to gain visibility and become involved. This organization has exceeded my expectations in terms of volunteerism. Originally interested in utilizing my free time as a part-time graduate student an hour or two a week as a tutor, I became a board member within a few months because I was inspired and believed in Project Vision's purpose. Project Vision offers valuable tools to youth who may not have otherwise have the means to afford and promotes community-building. Please support Project Vision and inspire youth to become great learners and leaders in their community and embracing them into your own.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

attending board meetings and learning about the successes and challenges met with fundraising goals. I have observed the student-tutor environment and seen products from service learning projects. I have seen the organization's budget and realistic goals and objectives. I have also seen the results of the organization by helping to edit the annual report.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

locate a larger appropriate space and acquire necessary tools and equipment to meet the demands of the students, increase grant applications, and build a marketing campaign to reach out to the community and to other organizations.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

How did you learn about this organization?

Through the University of Illinois at Chicago listserv student massmail.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Maintaining adequate funding to prevent deficit this year.

What is its top priority in the long run?

Locating a larger space or additional space to run the organization and extending tutoring hours.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been on the board of Project: VISION since it started over 8 years ago. I've seen it grow tremendously over the years, and change students' lives for the better. Among the services PV offers to the Bridgeport / Chinatown area of Chicago are tutoring, mentoring, ACT-prep, pairing students with opportunities for community service, and more. The greatest testimony to this organization's full-circle impact is seeing former students who have used PV's services in the past come back to help out because they care about the future of Project: VISION.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

Project Vision is run by a dedicated group of people who really inspire me! The Executive Director, one of the founders, volunteers her time to lead the organization while also working as a full-time physician. It is exciting to be involved with an organization that is still growing, and to observe the positive impacts it has on kids in the Chinatown area.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful?