Our mission is to provide the youth in our program with a comprehensive and integrated support system to help them overcome the challenges facing low-income urban children and youth: low reading levels, lack of academic achievement, high drop-out rates, violence, gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, and food insecurity, among others.
We focus on providing students with high-quality educational experiences and long-term mentoring relationships that will equip them to face these challenges and to succeed in school and in life.
Asian Youth Services was founded on October 21, 1992 by Executive Director Shari Fenton. Originally located in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood, AYS was established in order to meet the needs of the many Southeast Asian refugee families who had fled from ongoing genocide, war, and oppression in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Over the years, rising housing costs gradually began to force many of the families AYS served out of Uptown, and farther from the AYS center. In 2004, AYS made the move to the Albany Park neighborhood, where we remain today, within walking distance of the homes of most of our children.