Who We Serve

America was built by immigrants from all over the world. They in turn have enriched the country with their hard work and cultural diversity. In Illinois, the South Asian population in particular has grown by over 55 percent since the year 2000—a notably higher growth than other minority populations.

Most of this growth has been concentrated in the Chicago region. Chicago’s West Ridge community area, contiguous neighborhoods and bordering municipalities have attracted a significant proportion of these new residents.

Since 1990, the Indo American Center (IAC) has served over 45,000 clients from communities throughout the Chicago region, representing more than twenty nations. Testimonials from these people attest to IAC’s impact on their lives.

Client Profiles

Maganbhai Patel

Adult Literacy Program student

“We are very thankful for the Center. I encourage all the people I meet to come to the Center and take part in the programs and enjoy.”

Maganbhai came to the U.S. to live with his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Coming from a simple life in the village of Chikhli, India, he saw more temples than skyscrapers. Now, moving halfway across the world to live with his family meant that he left his whole life behind: friends, traditions, and home. His daughter, understanding this, recommended that he come to the IAC for community and to make use of our programs in 2010.

Maganbhai eagerly signed up for the English classes at the Center. He wanted to speak confidently in his new home and, most of all, help his grandchildren with their homework. Learning about American culture, geography, and history meant that he could lend a helping hand to his grandchildren as they start toward their own “American dream.”

Maganbhai came to the U.S. to live with his daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. Coming from a simple life in the village of Chikhli, India, he saw more temples than skyscrapers. Now, moving halfway across the world to live with his family meant that he left his

whole life behind: friends, traditions, and home. His daughter, understanding this, recommended that he come to the IAC for community and to make use of our programs in 2010.

When he was growing up, Maganbhai’s parents emphasized reading and play. Now, he had the chance to pass on those values to his own grandchildren, but a language barrier needed to be broken down first. Understanding the language his grandchildren spoke in most frequently was the bridge to becoming a more active caregiver and involved grandparent.

He and his wife, Gajaraben, also come to the Seniors’ Program to see new and old friends and to make use of their cultural programs. “We are very thankful for the Center,” he says, “I encourage all the people I meet to come to the Center and take part in the programs and

enjoy. The staff at the IAC are very nice and helpful.”

One thing he hopes for the IAC is that it can expand to a larger building to help more people. In fact, Maganbhai identifies “living a better life” as a big reason he started to come to the IAC and he wants the Center

expand to help more people achieve what he has: social community, communication with those in his new home, and the ability to help his family be more closely knit.

Mangesh Satam

Seniors’ Program, Workforce Development Program, Computer Education

“The Seniors’ Program is great for company. Don’t stay alone at home, you’ll go crazy! It’s better to go out, get some fresh air. Come to the Center and meet a few friends.”

Mangesh used to live in the heart of Mumbai. As the economic center of India, something was always happening and people were always everywhere. Life was good for Mangesh in India, he got a coveted top-ranking position in the government, he had a great salary, his own house, and a great standard of living. However, being a researcher meant that he had to wait for months to get materials from the U.S. So, he decided to move.

When he came to the U.S. (against the wishes of his mother since he was the baby in the family), his science career continued to progress. He’s had an exceptional career here in the U.S., but now that he is getting older, he is looking for more activities to do in his leisure time.

Though he amused himself at the library, he found it boring after a few hours. He was introduced to the IAC when his daughter was searching for a volunteer position. Mangesh was delighted to find all of the programs.

He started with the Seniors’ Program. “The library gets boring after a few hours. The Seniors’ Program is great for company. Don’t stay alone at home, you’ll go crazy! It’s better to go out, get some fresh air. Come to the Center and meet a few friends,” he advises.

From the Seniors’ Program, Mangesh has started to take advantage of
more of the Center’s offerings, enrolling in the Computer Program to learn more and connect. He also joined the Workforce Development Program. His desire? “I want to go back to work. Return to the research field.” The investment of time and energy in this top-notch scientist means that, instead of having a man, sitting alone waiting for his family to come home, we have an engaged, forward-thinking participant in society with so much left to give. He joined for the company and made
a few friends, but he saw the potential of learning and bettering himself with the other programs.As we all know, moving across the world can be
hard.

Mangesh is a certainly success story in the traditional sense of the word, but as his life slowed down, he found he didn’t want to slow down with it. The Indo-American Center provided the gateway for him to
have a bustling social life, interact with his peers, learn new skills and sharpen old ones. Mangesh is one of the faces of the IAC because, like many of our clients, he came for one thing and ended up with so much more!