Partnership empowers students to connect to their post-secondary future
Partnership empowers students to connect to their post-secondary future
Posted on 05/16/2019
Mentor working with studentIt was not that long ago that Tommy Haji was sitting in a high school classroom trying to decide his future. 

With family members who had recently immigrated to the United States, he and his parents knew there was only one path that would lead him to success.
“Education is the foundation of everything,” he recently told a group of 12 Stevenson students participating in the Vision Empowerment academy. “Once you are educated you are able to find your passions in life and go with them. You should never limit yourself to one thing.” 

The Vision Empowerment Academy is a partnership between Wireless Vision, The Chaldean Community Foundation and Stevenson High School that provides students additional support and tools to pursue their dream careers. 

“We believe that every child deserves to have an equal opportunity,” said Wireless Vision Marketing Specialist Zena Jabiru. “With the help of mentors, the students are learning about values, education and life skills to do the right thing every day.”

The partnership is the first of its kind and involves mentors working individually with 12 Stevenson students who applied to be part of the after-school program. 

At the group’s first meeting, Haji – a manufacturing entrepreneur - described his growth from childhood, to college, to becoming an engineer with the Chrysler Corp. and eventually owning his own successful business. 

He told students that that the path to success is “figuring what your strengths and weaknesses are. My strengths were obviously math, science and chemistry. You have to go where your strengths are and hopefully that's what we will figure out during this process."

In addition to speakers, students participating in the program will identify their career strengths, have prep work for SAT/ACT tests, and learn how to apply to college and universities and seek financial aid and scholarships. 

Stevenson High School EL teacher Mary Tangalos said the program provides needed support for students who are also becoming acclimated to a new country. 

“Vision Empowerment Academy will help guide them through this very challenging time in their lives and give them hope that they can reach their goals,” she said.  “It is an incredible opportunity and we are grateful to Wireless Vision and the Chaldean Community Foundation for their gifts of time, talent and treasure."

Stevenson junior Silvia Zahrah said she felt fortunate to be among the students selected for the program. 
“I really feel inspired by the mentors and can relate to them,” she said. 

At its last meeting, the partnership will announce scholarship prizes for students based on an essay. Organizers said they plan to expand the program next year based on its initial success.