June 13, 2019
Theresa Siaw is a philanthropist and entrepreneur, as the founder of OMNI Medical Student Training Program, based in Chicago. , which helps students who have trained at foreign medical schools to prepare for their first job in the United States. With her business having deep roots in the community, Theresa worked to implement a number of programs that helped members of the neighborhood and the city at large; everyone from children to the elderly. Most recently, Theresa has accepted a position as president of a local non-profit, Bootstrap Villages.
Bootstrap Villages, founded in 2015, is a Chicago based non-profit dedicated to creating and sustaining long term, transitional housing solutions for the unhoused through the use of affordable tiny home villages. The organization uses these tiny home villages to help empower and build the lives of the homeless through education, community involvement and by providing a safe, healthy and drug-free environment for them to live and get back on their feet. They also work closely with local municipalities and the needs of the homeless in those neighborhoods to meet their specific needs to prevent future homelessness.
“ I believe that a leader should be an advocate for the people in its neighborhoods,'' said Theresa. “There are too many people in our community that we turn a blind eye to, both figuratively and literally. It is time that we stop displacing them from place to place because different neighborhoods consider their camps an eyesore. We need to enact useful change and start helping them, which is exactly what Bootstrap Villages is doing.”
According to a census done by The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, in 2016, there were 80,384 homeless in the city of Chicago. Additionally, 64,114 people were living doubled up, a less recognized and talked about form of homelessness. Of those people, 55.5% were black, 33.1% Latinx, 6.5% white, and 4.9% other groups
Theresa was born on the southeast side of Chicago; both her parents were African immigrants from Ghana and continuously expressed that education was the most important achievement. Theresa earned a B.A. in Multicultural Marketing from DePaul University in 2010. She served on the advisory board of Centro Romero from 2013 to 2015, which helps immigrants and refugees achieve self-sufficiency.
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