I originally tutored at Project: VISION while I was in school and I fell in love with the organization. The co-founder and ED Karen exudes passion and truly has a vision for the youth she serves. Although I had to move on from the position, I wanted to stay involved with the organization. Therefore, I co-founded their Associate Board and I've been involved for the 3 years since!
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.
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 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.
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.