About Us Contact Us Help




Featured Organization - Project IMPACT

Nirmala Garimella

April 26, 2002, was a proud moment for Project IMPACT, Boston Chapter, a charitable, nonprofit organization of young professionals and community leaders. It was on this day that the Asian American Resource Workshop (AARW), a non profit, membership organization dedicated to the empowerment of the Asian Pacific American community, recognized Project IMPACT for its outstanding work in combating ethnic intimidation after the events of September 11th.

What is Project IMPACT and what do they do?

This non profit organization has active, dedicated and committed individuals whose motto is enshrined in the Gandhian principal that "you must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Founded in 1995, Project IMPACT’s mission is to increase the civic awareness, social responsibility and community leadership of South Asian-Americans.
The organization strongly believes in the philosophy that by introducing South Asian-Americans to important information, innovative ideas, and exciting opportunities it can improve the civic, social and political engagement of South Asian-Americans.

Youth Mentoring Program of Project IMPACT is a very popular program that links South Asian-American high school students with professionals and graduate students in order to share experiences and provide academic, social, and cultural guidance. Project IMPACT also organizes interactive workshops on topics ranging from college admissions and careers to peer pressure and bi-cultural identity. The issues also may include language barriers, peer pressure, cultural and religious identity and adjusting to life in the United States.

Over 200 High schoolers have benefitted from this program says a 14 year old mentee "I came from India four years ago. When I didn't have this program, I was at level D in school and I always got Level C or D in tests. But when I started this program I had fun and now I am at Level B and A. The first time I couldn't do my projects and now my mentor helps me out and I can do my project. I like this program because I can do my work with my mentor, and I have fun with her. And also my family does not have to worry about me because they know I'm with my mentor!"

Another 17 year old mentee agrees"Project IMPACT is a great program because as much as you put into it, you get out also. I would highly recommend Project IMPACT to anyone who seeks guidance, and to everyone who is willing enough to guide."

Besides this, the group also invites interesting and innovative South Asians who are breaking new ground and emerging as leaders in their chosen fields in their speaker series. The small group discussions involve two or three guest speakers who present their work and then field questions and interact with attendees. In the Project IMPACT Boston Chapter, monthly political dinner discussion groups are led by an expert in the field and have covered topics such as hate crimes, the impact of 9/11, South Asian American community organizing, South Asian American youth, and South Asian American literature.

Another feather in their cap is the assimilation of an exhaustive Media Resource Guide (MRG). This has general information on South Asia (i.e. number of countries, religions, languages, etc) and the South Asian American community (i.e. demographic profile), a “frequently asked questions” section that answers and counters many misperceptions of the community and a catalog of South Asian American experts in numerous fields who can act as specialists for media personalities on a variety of topics.

The Creating A Voice Awards Banquet recognizes unique, outstanding South Asian American community leaders, achievers, and unsung heroes. The Banquet provides an important opportunity for South Asian Americans to collectively discuss community’s changing role in the United States and to honor those on the forefront of that change.

The group also maintains an internet newsgroup of over 4500 subscribers and an internet home page that keeps individuals informed of current and past Project-IMPACT activities, legislative updates, event information, job/ internship opportunities, and scholarship opportunities.

Project IMPACT Boston’s involvement with the community.

Boston Chapter has over 270 members who are professionals and experts in their field and offer their time and expertise voluntarily. Kavita Kapur, who has been the Boston Chapter Director of Project IMPACT since June 2000 believes strongly that "Project IMPACT recognizes the important responsibilities the South Asian American community has to the governing and business environment of the United States. We aim to make the South Asian American community more informed and involved in the legislative, political, social, and economic processes of this country". She is currently an MPP student at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. On her motivation to get involved she says "I got involved because I believe the South Asian American community has a great deal to offer to the leadership of the United States, and I believe our community has an important part to play in contributing to the political, social and economic fabric of this nation".

Another Active volunteer and co director of the mentoring program Purnima Unni, says "We established the Project IMPACT Mentoring Program five years ago so that young South Asian Americans could fulfill their dreams, share experiences, and learn from others who understand their questions and concerns. I got involved in youth mentoring because South Asian American teenagers are often overlooked when it comes to support and mentoring initiatives. Young South Asian Americans often feel trapped by the model minority myth and are viewed as children who have the right resources to succeed".

Shelley Gupta, another co-director also involved actively in the mentoring program finds great satisfaction in helping students realise their full potential and guiding them in their prospects.

After the tragic events of September 11, Project IMPACT mobilized in a number of chapters to provide events and forums that brought groups affected by the tragedy, both directly and indirectly, together. Of primary importance is combating stereotypes, hate crimes, and social stigmas that are the result of 9/11.

Project IMPACT Boston held the Tolerance in the Wake of Tragedy Event in conjunction with the Harvard Law School South Asian Students Association and NetSAP Boston during the Fall of 2001. The event was a panel discussion/community meeting that sought to address the violent backlash against South Asian-Americans and Arab-Americans in the wake of the September 11 tragedy. Project IMPACT Boston also held a hate crimes event with the South Asian American Leaders of Tomorrow and NetSAP Boston in April, 2002.

Upocoming events of the Organization include seeking a Director and additional mentors for the 2002-2003 year. A stipend is available for the Director. This one-of-a-kind Mentoring Program provides academic, social, and cultural guidance to young South Asian Americans from diverse backgrounds. The program pairs young professionals and graduate students with highschool students. This is the 4th year of this very successful and recognized program. In the Boston area, over 50 students have benefited from the program. If you are interested in the Mentor or Director positions, please contact Purnima at pi_purnima@hotmail.com.

"It is a win-win program for everyone involved. As a mentor, it is one of my most rewarding and fulfilling experiences. For my mentee, it is a fun and unique opportunity to make a new friend to learn from." Nikunj Patel, Boston Mentor

A Panel discussin titled "ROUNDING OUT THE PICTURE: PORTRAYALS OF SOUTH ASIAN AMERICANS IN THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA" - will be held on SEPTEMBER 30, 2002 at the Boston Public Library in Boston, MA AT 7.00PM
Confirmed Panelists include Anand Vaishnav, Education Reporter, Boston Globe and Om Mallick of The Red Herring Magazine. The discussion will focus on two primary themes: the proportional coverage of South Asians and South Asian Americans in American media; and the extent of objective and accurate coverage of this community. Project IMPACT Boston will host a panel discussion in early October on the upcoming Governors election for the state Massachusetts. With a focus on South Asian issues, policies, and community relevant topics, the panel will host representatives from both the republican and democratic parties. This event will serve as a great opportunity for both candidates to reach out to the South Asian community as well as a stimulus for the South Asian community to get out and vote on election day.

For more information please visit the Web site: www.project-impact.org
Phone: 617-515-7805

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help