Project MotiVATe (Mentoring Vietnamese American Teens)

Project MotiVATe (Mentoring Vietnamese American Teens)

Founded in 1996 and incorporated as a 501c3 in 2010, Project MotiVATe (PM) provides culturally relevant mentorship and supportive services to low-income Vietnamese youth and their families at no cost. Our youths are of high school age that generally stays with the program from 9th through 12th grade. PM serves

Project MotiVATe (Mentoring Vietnamese American Teens)

Since the inception of the program in 1996, Project MotiVATe has served about 500 teens and has undergone a few revisions of the program with challenges of its own of being 100% volunteer and data is not perfectly tracked but the vision and mission remain solid in supporting the teens and their families. As volunteer mentors, we have testified among judges and counselors on behalf of our mentees of their potential and helped guide them to achieve their high school diplomas and college readiness. We have helped students with Asperger's Syndrome to overcome social awkwardness and communication issues by facilitating games and gaining the confidence to interact with others. We had received many accolades from parents who claimed that they had hired expensive tutors and behavioral health therapists to support their teenagers but results had been minimal until their teen spent a year with Project MotiVATe, expressing that they were grateful for the transformation through this unique program. The program is evaluated through a survey after each workshop and at the end of each academic year; though the program can be improved with better evaluation and tracking tools.

About the Organization:

Since the inception of the program in 1996, Project MotiVATe has served about 500 teens and has undergone a few revisions of the program with challenges of its own of being 100% volunteer and data is not perfectly tracked but the vision and mission remain solid in supporting the teens and their families. As volunteer mentors, we have testified among judges and counselors on behalf of our mentees of their potential and helped guide them to achieve their high school diplomas and college readiness. We have helped students with Asperger's Syndrome to overcome social awkwardness and communication issues by facilitating games and gaining the confidence to interact with others. We had received many accolades from parents who claimed that they had hired expensive tutors and behavioral health therapists to support their teenagers but results had been minimal until their teen spent a year with Project MotiVATe, expressing that they were grateful for the transformation through this unique program. The program is evaluated through a survey after each workshop and at the end of each academic year; though the program can be improved with better evaluation and tracking tools.

organizational budget

$0 - $50,000

existence for

26-30 YEARS

The Issue:

Orange County, California has the largest Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam, but the Vietnamese community continues to be undercounted, which leads to the lack of government funding to support significant social services and programs in the community. According to the World Population Review for 2022, "Garden Grove is an Asian majority city and its 7th among top cities of at least 100,000 people with the highest percentage of Asian-Americans. Nine of the 10 cities on the list are in California but the top city is Honolulu, HI. Vietnamese Americans are the largest group of Asian-Americans in Garden Grove at 27.7% of the population. This is the second-largest Vietnamese American population in the United States after Westminster, CA," a neighboring city of Garden Grove. Despite the large number of Vietnamese Americans living in Orange County today, there are currently no mentoring programs available free of charge to academically and socially at-risk Vietnamese youth. To fulfill this need, Project MotiVATe offers a culturally relevant mentorship program at no financial cost to families. Through its annual summer camp, personalized mentoring, weekly study halls, and monthly events, Project MotiVATe ensures that all mentees graduate high school and pursue higher education while creating opportunities for personal growth, cultural connectedness, and social responsibility. Based on the number of volunteer mentors available, the program aims at serving 15-30 youth and their parents per academic year. More than 85% of the teens come from a single-family household with a non-English speaking head of household, which makes it challenging for parents to support their teens and navigate through academic curriculums and communicate with teachers and staff.

The Solution:

Founded in 1996 and incorporated as a 501c3 in 2010, Project MotiVATe (PM) provides culturally relevant mentorship and supportive services to low-income Vietnamese youth and their families at no cost. Our youths are of high school age that generally stays with the program from 9th through 12th grade. PM serves approximately 30 people each year with rolling admission; this comprises of the mentees who are directly served as well as their parents via support to building family dynamics due to language and cultural barriers. Project MotiVATe’s activities include one-on-one mentoring, weekly study halls, monthly events, and an annual summer camp. Below is a brief description of the services and activities provided by staff, mentors & volunteers: Mentoring : PM’s mentors support the youth during times of stress and give guidance for decision-making. Mentors are trained in crisis intervention, cultural awareness, and working with family dynamics. Bilingual mentors and volunteers can support parents who prefer to speak Vietnamese. Study Hall : One day per week, mentees receive tutoring and monitoring from volunteers to develop study skills and habits. Once a month, PM holds workshops to develop life skills. Past workshops have included the “Get a Life” financial management activity, Black April Vietnamese history panel discussion, Healthy Relationships, and Internet Safety. Monthly Events : Each month, mentees participate in free events that deepen the mentee’s understanding of their community. Past events include local university campus tours, festivals in Little Saigon, harvested vegetables for a local food bank, participated in beach clean-ups, and museum events showcasing culture and expressionism. Project MotiVATe seeks a holistic approach to mentorship which includes a focus on academic, social and emotional development to ensure that mentees develop the resilience and confidence to face challenges and achieve personal success in school and at home. The skill sets developed during the mentee’s tenure with PM are lifelong.

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