Ashley X.

Going from one country to another was a memory I had once lost. I was only two years old when I immigrated to the United States with my parents. For the first two years of my life, I lived in China with my aunt so that my parents could find jobs in America before they brought me to the new country.

Throughout my early childhood, Cantonese was the only language that I learned. My parents were not fluent in English, so I struggled to learn it as well. When other kids were starting to learn to count in English, I was learning how to count in Cantonese. When other kids were starting to learn how to speak full sentences in English, I was learning how to speak full sentences in Cantonese. As I got older, I continued to struggle with exercises that my peers thought were simple. I was often bullied for being illiterate and not being able to understand simple things other students could, so I got the label of “the dumb Asian girl.” 

Although I struggled with academics as a child, I had one support system that was there for me when my teachers were not, Project: VISION. Over the years, Project: VISION helped me develop invaluable life skills, such as communication and leadership, that I would not have attained on my own. Throughout my time at Project: VISION, I have had many eye opening experiences. I led a mental health session for adolescents living in the Bridgeport community, I hosted a food drive with my peers, and I have done many other acts of service that helped me better understand the world from other perspectives. 

Being a student at Project: VISION has shaped me into the person I am today. Without the support from many tutors, I would not be within the top 5% of my class. Due to the support I have received from Project: VISION, I have been inspired to continue to help others. There are many ways in which I can help people, but one of my main goals in life is to become a teacher. Being a teacher is a significant goal of mine because I never received much support from my teachers even though I was not fluent in English as a child. This is a major problem that I want to be able to make a meaningful impact on in the future. I plan to work towards altering the education system in order to provide every student with the same opportunities to learn and grow with as much support as possible. I believe that teachers should do more than just teach children material from textbooks. Educators of young children are in a position of great responsibility, as they have the chance to be influential in ways that even the kids’ parents do not have access to. They have the ability to make children fall in love with learning, understand that diversity should be acknowledged as well as appreciated, along with instilling other qualities that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Ashley’s story really captures the goals of PV’s work because we have been able to give her leadership experiences that nurture a strong sense of social responsibility, helped explore her role in the surrounding communities, and guided her to create her own path of lifelong service to her community.