Eric C.

“I have been a part of Project: VISION youth programs since the 8th grade and joined initially for a safe place to go after school and for homework help, although I had always been a hard-working student and mainly just needed an extra push from time to time. However, high school became more challenging, and I relied on tutoring more heavily to keep my grades up. I also benefited from the the college prep programs, especially the test prep classes, essay writing workshops for applications and help with filling out the FAFSA for financial aid.

Even more so than the academic support I received at PV, however, I would say that the service learning and leadership programming at PV have helped me grow the most. Service projects taught me the importance of community, and this is also a lesson that has been reinforced by my experience with the Stay In School Initiative Saturday program. I have been in the program for three years, and last summer, I received an internship at Corazon, a youth organization in Cicero, after working very hard to improve my job interviewing skills. At Corazon, I spent the summer assisting with their youth programs. I learned to improve my organization and project management skills by helping to plan some of their weekly peace movement community events aimed to prevent neighborhood violence. It was such an eye-opening experience to see other communities in action, and I was inspired by the positive outlook that people there had despite being an under-resourced community. I would love to someday help create the same kind of community togetherness here in Chinatown and the Asian American community to help tackle its challenges.

I’m grateful for what PV has done for me, and I’m excited about what the future holds for me. I’ll be attending the University of Michigan in fall 2018, and I plan to study engineering.”

Eric’s story really captures the goals of PV’s work because we have been able to help him improve his academic skills, ensuring that he navigates high school successfully and is well-prepared for college, but even more importantly, our programs have instilled the importance of community, broadened his worldview, and helped him gain soft skills that will prepare him for the workplace and as a future community leader.