Carmen Chan was born and raised in Venezuela. She attended Everett Middle School and Galileo High School in San Francisco. She followed her parents to San Francisco when she was 12 years old, but her parents only stayed for one week – they decided to leave Carmen and her sister in the care of her uncle. Initially, Carmen found it exceedingly difficult to assimilate, especially as it was such a sudden shift. She had wanted to stay in Venezuela as the majority of her family members and friends resided there. Regardless, Carmen has made the best of her situation, and has actually very recently graduated from San Francisco State University as a double major in History and Spanish. Carmen hopes that her advocacy will benefit shift towards immigration reform, something that she believes will benefit everyone equally.
Carmen’s placement is with Mission Asset Fund (MAF), a direct service organization that creates a pathway for individuals and families to remove themselves from the financial shadows. Carmen helps those at MAF by creating a learning space for the individuals she serves as they continue on to develop a support network and learn about beneficial and inexpensive ways to better their finances. As someone who already has great communication skills, Carmen is able to interact with different families who would normally lack access to basic financial products and educate them and provide options for these families. Her duties are also to increase outreach and inform those in the community of the lending circles and the benefits they could provide, such as paying off DACA processing forms. She then researches and collects data on the impact of such a program in the community and, if they’re comfortable, shares the stories of those who have received tremendous benefits from the program. As she continues to work within the office, she will gain familiarity with financial and consumer concepts. She will use this information to then financially coach her community.