When Jason Scott Park, 28, was in college, he led a student organization and was exposed to many community projects. Through those experiences, he developed a passion for building and strengthening communities. That enthusiasm has today led him to be President of Asian Professional Exchange (APEX). APEX focuses on professional development, community service, and cultural awareness, as they pertain to the Asian Pacific American community. Its programs and events include a mentoring program for college students and young professionals, a day-long career fair, a networking reception for community leaders, and a youth Olympics that promotes leadership through team-building games. Jason’s responsibilities as president include managing APEX’s board, fundraising, and strengthening relationships with the city of Los Angeles and the state of California, where the organization is based. To learn more about APEX and Jason’s leadership, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
At age 21, Michelle Landin is making her life count. She’s part of a team at Project Cuddle, an organization that provides pregnant women in crisis help, advice, encouragement, and a friend. The goal of the organization is stop baby abandonment, and it does this through its various awareness programs. Michelle started at Project Cuddle as part of a volunteer assignment for school. She fell in love with the group and even after she completed her assignment she wanted to continue to do more. Michelle’s desire to be a part of such an organization comes from her upbringing and specifically some wise words from her mother “leave things better than how you found them.” To read more about Michelle and Project Cuddle read on in this week’s Non-Profit spotlight
The goal of Vision XY is to empower one billion emerging leaders worldwide with information that will enable them to make a positive impact in their family, community, nation, and world. The man behind the “Vision” is 28-year-old Joshua Fredenburg. His first book “Vision, the Answer to Generation X and Y,” inspired the organization, but it is his continued dedication to helping people become leaders that makes it a success. In addition to writing books to spread his message, Joshua travels the country giving speeches to schools, churches, and non-profits. However, he does not stop at just expressing his own ideas, instead he offers others a platform from which to speak. His show “Speak On It,” provides an arena for people to voice their opinions and bring solutions to various political, social, and relevant issues of our day. Several times throughout the year he hosts the show remotely from a college campus to give more young people an opportunity to get involved and speak up. To learn more about Vision XY read on in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Directing the faith-based and university-focused educational organization Reality Changers, Cecelia Villegas (age 18) fills her days developing learning tutorials for teens, outreach projects, and speaking engagements. She works with inner city youth in and around San Diego, California, to build their academic and community service resumes and also to engage them in activities not associated with inner city life such as gang and drug involvement. Cecelia says that while her hours are filled either focusing on Reality Changers or on her full school schedule at Point Loma Nazarene University, there is absolutely no bad part to her day or her responsibilities as Site Director. In guiding her teens through new SAT vocabulary or the university application process, she says the time is consuming and obstacles are many, but she is helping to mold hundreds of first generation college students become community leaders and future mentors. Learn more about Reality Changers and the successes Cecelia Villegas is helping to build in this week’s The LatinConnect.
For American high school students, gaining admission to the United States’ top colleges is a difficult process. It’s even more challenging though if you’re a high school student in Vietnam who isn’t familiar with American culture and the U.S. educational system. Khoa Pham, 23, noticed this unmet need for help in navigating the admissions process and formed VietAbroader. The organization provides information, guidance, and networking to make Vietnamese students competitive for admission and scholarships to top U.S. universities. The group also serves as a bridge linking local students in Vietnam with Vietnamese students studying overseas. Since its founding in 2004, VietAbroader has held two conferences attended by more than 1,000 Vietnamese students and parents. In the past two years, over 100 students attending those conferences have gotten admission and scholarships to U.S. colleges. To learn more about how Khoa and VietAbroader are making a U.S. college education attainable for Vietnamese students, check out this week’s Non-profit Spotlight.
When her artistic side bloomed by age five and when her professional career launched at age 10, her family knew there was something different, rare, and intriguing about her. Elizabeth Torres, age 19, has experienced a lifetime’s worth of international travel, speaking engagements, and art showings all highlighting her abilities to speak, create, and develop new motivational concepts. An average week for Elizabeth might include meeting with student groups, writing new poetry, speaking on a radio show, attending university classes, or engaging in discussion with the nation’s corporate leaders. Nothing is out of reach for this young woman! With professional accolades and the vital support of her family behind her, Elizabeth begins every day with fresh eyes and a passion to explore the natural beauty in everyone and every environment. Read on to see where all of this energy originates and what lessons you might take away from Elizabeth’s work in this week’s The LatinConnect.
Based in Washington D.C. with philanthropic efforts in South Africa, the Ithemba Foundation exists for the sole purpose to nourish children in body, spirit, and mind. Laurie Scott, age 34 and Executive Director, founded this non-profit in 2002 and, since then, has expanded the agency to include four primary avenues of support: a computer training program, leadership camps, school meals, and karate classes. The Ithemba Foundation has fed more than 400 children and strives to do more through helping donors realize that physically nourishing an impoverished child only addresses one aspect of larger social issues. Laurie is grateful for an all-volunteer Board of Directors and says that without their tireless efforts Ithemba could not have garnered all of its successes to date. For more information on the Ithemba Foundation and how to help shape the lives of thousands of South Africa’s under-served children, read on to learn more in this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight
When Khary Lazarre-White was in college in 1995, he and his friend, Jason Warwin, read that for every Black male who graduated from college that year, 100 Black men were in prison. That chilling statistic motivated them to start an organization that today has evolved into The Brotherhood/Sister Sol. The organization empowers Black and Latino youth in New York City who face a daily reality of poverty, drugs, violence, poor parenting, failing schools, and unhealthy images of masculinity. At its headquarters in Harlem, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol provides youth with a sanctuary from the streets, offering programs that empower them with the skills to self-direct their lives in a positive manner. The organization’s services include enriching after-school programs, summer camps, job training, college preparation, and more. Its Rites of Passage program follows adolescents intensively for four to six years, teaching them about conflict resolution, drug awareness, community service, and leadership. The Brotherhood/Sister Sol has received numerous awards, including Oprah’s Use Your Life Award. To learn more about the organization, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
Because they can’t speak for themselves, children are some of the most vulnerable members of society. Yet, for any community or country to thrive, it needs to invest in the well-being of its children. Children Now, a nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, believes that children in the United States are getting short shrift from policymakers, and it strives to make children’s issues a top public concern. It wants to ensure that every child has a quality education, access to affordable health care, and a wholesome media environment with fewer junk-food advertisements. Stacy Hae Lim Lee, 30, a director at Children Now, handles one of the most difficult parts of keeping an organization functioning smoothly: fundraising. Her fundraising responsibilities include putting together proposals to foundations, researching funding sources, and developing outreach plans to funders. As a member of the executive team, she also helps with overall strategy. To learn more about Stacy’s work at Children Now, check out this week’s Nonprofit Spotlight.
Jainism is a minority religion in the United States, and adherents are geographically dispersed throughout the country. Amit Jain, 25, is part of an organization that is keeping young Jains connected. As Director of Project Development of Young Jains of America (YJA), he manages various projects pertaining to Jains in the 14-to-29 age group. The mission is to create a network of young members of the faith and establish a forum for sharing Jain heritage and religion. For example, YJA is working to keep Jain youth connected online by building a social networking site called Jainster.com. The organization doesn’t just put on its own activities and projects, though. It has also supported other organizations with which it shares a common cause, such as Habitat for Humanity and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. To learn more about Amit Jain and his organization, check out this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.