Yenling Yang

Exploring Heart 

Exploring Heart is a new venture that encourages immigrant adults and youth to be active individuals playing active roles within their communities. Ideally, the program would consist of a group of volunteer mentors who see the importance of being not only physically healthy, but also intellectually curious. These mentors would aspire to inspire their mentees to take the lead in achieving a lifestyle that is stimulating, exciting, and challenging on a variety of different levels.
Since this is a new venture, research needs to be done to see if there are current programs in place that have similar models or have models that can be modified to be applicable to this idea. Sample programs that can be reviewed could be after-school programs, summer programs, and other tutoring or mentoring programs and specific examples of organizations could be Generation Citizen and D'abate Elementary School. Evaluation of this goal will be assessed by the formation of a rough idea of a model for this venture to follow.

Furthermore, I would like to see a program like this manifest in smaller urban or suburban areas where there are significant populations of refugees and new immigrants, but because the area is not densely populated with minority groups, these populations are not getting the services they need. In addition, it would also be best if the location has some community organizations that are dedicated to serving new immigrant populations. As a fledgling venture, the best way to introduce this idea would be through an established organization that already has the trust of community members. I currently have my eye on Lexington, KY and therefore, this grant will be used to fly to Lexington to meet with potential community partners, such as at the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, and to intern at the Kentucky Refugee Ministries during winter break. Through such meetings and exposure to community organizations, I can hopefully gain a better idea of the need that is present in Lexington as well as the potential interest that lies at these universities and community organizations. By meeting with these potential partners and through the mentorship that will receive at the Kentucky Refugee Ministries, I hope to be able to solidify a more concrete way of assessing what a potential partnership could look like. With the help of community members, evaluation of these goals will be assessed by an outline of next steps on how to move forward with this venture in the city of Lexington, Kentucky.