What's Happening at Project Access

Staff Spotlight - Aileen Lee

Posted on Thu, Apr 16, 2015 @ 10:45 AM

aileenName: Aileen Lee

Position Title: Regional Manager

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

I hope to support the growth of services and resources that is provided by Project Access to families and communities.

What do you do for yourself (for fun/hobbies/side business, etc.)?

Some of my hobbies include reading and hiking.

What is one thing you cannot live without?

Coffee :)

What do you like best about your job?

The best thing I like about my job is the opportunity in providing help for families in our communities.

How old were you when you had your worst haircut and what style was it?

When I was 6 years old, I decided to experiment and cut a big chunk of my long hair off. My mom wasn't too happy and decided to give me a bowl hair cut.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten and did you like it?

Soft shell turtle soup. My uncle told me it was chicken soup but then confessed it was turtle. It tasted like chicken.

What is the coolest place you’ve visited? Share a little bit about your experience. Boracay, Philippines. I was able to go snorkling in the crystal caves. 

Project Access tours Disneyland with author Ridley Pearson

Posted on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 @ 09:45 AM

Just steps away from the wonderful world of Disney, Project Access at Hermosa Village serves youth that for years have experienced the Magic of Disney through films and books, but were never able to visit the park. Countless times they heard and saw the Disneyland fireworks from the outskirts of the park, but never experienced the magic within. Early 2015, Project Access was very fortunate to receive a generous gift from Disney. Hermosa Village was invited to not only visit the park for the day, but also attend a book reading by the New York Times Best Selling author, Ridley Pearson. Twenty-five youth along with a parent were invited to celebrate this unique experience with Disney last month.


Upon arriving at the park, our residents were welcomed by the friendly cast members who guided youth and parents to the Lincoln Theatre inside Disneyland. Here, Ridley Pearson awaited them with his “Kingdom Keepers” novel ready to lead everyone into an imaginary adventure. Mr. Pearson, an author of over 52 novels, emphasized the importance of quality writing in school, encouraged youths’ creativity and imagination, and of course reading; all elements of which Project Access promotes through our Education for Youth programs. After reading a short excerpt from his book, Mr. Pearson took the youth on an adventure throughout some of the park showing them where and how they can use their surroundings as inspiration for writing. After spending their morning with an award winning author, the youth ended this experience with their very own signed copy of Kingdom Keepers “The Return”. Kids walked out exclaiming “How cool! I can’t wait to read this book!”


We are infinitely thankful to Disney for the opportunity and more so to Mr. Pearson for stimulating the minds of our youth and encouraging their reading literacy. Frontiers in psychology reported that reading helps children acquire literacy skills, and increases their communication and intellectual thinking capabilities (Masataka, 2014). We hope that with Mr. Pearson’s motivational words and with the help of Project Access, youth will continue to develop these skills into adulthood. One of our staff member shared, “It was a truly magical day that allowed the kids to use their imagination and motivate them to continue striving for excellence in their education.” 


Read about one of our success stories with a youth who participates in our program HERE.


Staff Spotlight - Alicia Orozco

Posted on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

alicia_o.Name: Alicia Orozco

Position Title: Service Coordinator at Santa Rosa Gardens

What do you hope to accomplish in your role?

I hope to build on the work from previous coordinators in order to foster an inclusive environment for all residents.

What do you do for yourself (for fun/hobbies/side business, etc.)?

I play soccer, do yoga, and love hiking. I enjoy secondhand shopping and like to reuse/repurpose items I find.

What do you consider the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

After college graduation I went to Spain for a month. The only part of the trip that was planned was the flight over and first 3 days in Madrid. After that we went where we felt drawn to which made this trip really exciting and worthwhile.

If you could swim in any liquid, what would it be?

The dead sea for its healing powers.

What would you do with fifteen minutes of fame?

Promote the American Lung Associations’ work towards creating safe living enviornments for people in shared housing.

Residents Celebrate Cultural Diversity - Learn About Nowruz

Posted on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 @ 02:51 PM


Across the Family Resource Centers at Project Access, we have residents from diverse cultures and celebrations. In an attempt to learn about a large population of their neighbors that are from Iran and Afghanistan, the After School Program in Irvine learned about the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Nowruz is celebrated on the first day of Spring every year.

To learn more about it, their resident volunteer, Mandana, helped the youth learn more about her culture. She brought Iranian treats for the kids to try, and taught them how it's celebrated in her country. A part of the celebration is making a "Haftseen Table," which is decorated with items that symbolize regrowth and prosperity. The class got to make a table for their classroom and also got to dye eggs to add to the Haftseen table.

To show off their new-found knowledge, the kids put together a video. Watch it here:

Residents at Golden West Tower Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Posted on Thu, Feb 19, 2015 @ 03:28 PM


What is Lunar New Year? It is a celebration that brings fun and laughter to a lot of our residents!

Also, known as Chinese New Year, Lunar New Year is a traditional, cultural day filled with much celebration and excitement. The senior citizens at the Senior Resource Center at Golden West Tower in Torrance, CA kicked off this well-known cultural holiday with Project Access. The senior citizens with a Chinese cultural background were quick to show-off their tradition by showcasing their traditional clothing and traditional snacks. Not only was the day filled with activities led by the senior citizens with Chinese cultural backgrounds, but it was also well-received by senior citizens of all backgrounds. Other residents came together to learn, interact, and even participate in all the festivities related to the Lunar New Year. Just as the Lunar New Year signifies a new beginning to a calendar year, the senior citizens were able to start and create new bonds with one another.

Topics: Seniors, Community Building

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