Michael Chiang, Regional Director at Crescent Solutions, is currently mentoring his second teen who is also named Michael. The mentee is a soon-to-be eighth grader involved in the Fulfillment Fund—a nonprofit organization that targets students from low-income areas to support them through their educational careers. Chiang also played a major role in having the organization included in our Crescent Cares program—an initiative to help youth through volunteering and charity donations.
“The main objective is being a mentor for this person—this kid,” said Chiang. “We’re not teachers, parents, or family units. We’re there just to be a positive influence on their lives and help them with their high school careers and hopefully help them graduate and go to college.”
Once a month, the two go out on a weekend to grab lunch or watch movies. They recently tried go-kart racing, but since Michael has some growing to do—standing at 4’8” tall—he didn’t make the cut for the 5’0” requirement to ride—something they joke about together. Earlier this month, they spent a day at Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in Hollywood. “He’s extremely smart,” Chiang said. “I think he’s gifted. He knows how to play chess and he’s very self-aware of the world.”
One of the most memorable moments for Chiang was after their first excursion when his mentee said to him, “Michael, I had a really good time. Thank you.” Through that response, Chiang could tell that Michael truly appreciated their time together. He mentioned that there are more female than male mentors who participate in the Fulfillment Fund. Since male students only get paired up with male mentors, and the same for female participants, he helps even out the ratio a bit.
Mentoring is like second-nature to Chiang, as he’s sociable and previously taught career economics classes to inner-city students in Watts for the Junior Achievement organization. He taught the program over the course of six weeks, educating students on economics, business, and finance. It’s important to him to help others.
“I was one of the lucky ones that had both parents at home and a loving family and I grew up in suburbia,” he said. “I was always into helping kids and people. I find myself very fortunate in life, so it means a lot to me to give back to the community—to someone who has so much potential.”