Yi-Chin Chen has dedicated 20+ years of her career to working with marginalized youth and families. She uses her story of coming to the US on her own at 16 to inspire and empower youth to find their own voices and paths to success. She spent years working in schools and grassroots nonprofits before becoming a leader at a number of Boston's youth organizations, including Friends of the Children-Boston where she serves as Executive Director.
Friends-Boston is creating generational change by pairing Boston's most vulnerable children, who face multiple systemic obstacles, with salaried professional mentors who work in every aspect of their lives, from kindergarten to high school graduation, and by helping caregivers of their youth address issues like food insecurity, housing instability, unemployment, and other challenges.
A strong proponent of mentoring and leadership development, Yi-Chin helps mentor the next generation of nonprofit leaders. Yi-Chin recognizes how she has benefited from being mentored and she now takes pride in giving back as much as she can. An example is her involvement with Institute for Nonprofit Practice where she actively serves as a senior fellow and a mentor.
Yi-Chin also offers her expertise in helping shape Boston and Massachusetts-wide initiatives that help improve lives of individuals living in marginalized communities. Her published case study on youth community organizing models has been require reading at Boston University's Graduate School of Social Work to train new social workers to empower their clients to affect change in their own communities.
As a member of the MA Statewide Action Plan Committee, she helped shape a comprehensive public/private vision to prepare every child in the state for success by age of 21. She also helped design and implement the Success Boston Initiative that has helped thousands of public-school graduates complete their post-secondary degree.
As one of the few Asian women nonprofit executives in Massachusetts, her leadership has helped pave the way for other leaders of color to step into executive roles. She works hard each day to exemplify authentic and courageous leadership. She is a vocal advocate for representation in places where leadership has not been traditionally represented.