My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Expanding Lives, Chicago, IL, USA
Expanding Lives (EL) was founded by two teachers at my high school. As a French student, I was asked to help translate classes from English to French. I translated weekly classes on conflict resolution, and I did some one-on-one tutoring in computers. But I also helped by planning social activities, like picnics, soccer games, and tie-dying; I found these events to be the most rewarding part of Expanding Lives’s program. These activities, attended by students from our school district, provided some downtime from the academic curriculum, and demonstrated the organizational capabilities of young people. But most importantly, they served as a cultural exchange between American and Nigerien teenagers. Chasing a soccer ball, rubber-banding a t-shirt, in these moments I got to know the four visitors. They were not just participants in a non-profit I worked with the summer before my senior year; they were my peers, and by the end, my friends. Perhaps “Expanding Lives” strikes many as an ambiguous name. Canning to raise money for EL, I’ve had people ask me if it was a pro-life organization or if it provided health services, like weight loss. The name does not mention West Africa or women’s education or cultural exchange. But anyone whose life has been touched by the program knows that it is the only appropriate name. Ultimately, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Midwest, from the desks of a classroom to the grassy slopes of a park, this organization honors a commitment to change…a commitment to expanding lives.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
my time as a fund-raiser and a volunteer.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
strive to recruit more volunteers so that the founders would be able to distribute the work amongst more people, lightening their load. I would also love to see an increase in awareness and recognition from community memembers not associated with EL.
Ways to make it better...
could not have been better. Really. Getting involved in Expanding Lives was the privilege of a lifetime.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
funding, staffing, community/media attention. Political instability and funding cuts from the U.S. government
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?