Title: Project Manager
Name of Organization: ASI Inc.
Cyndy Olivares found a purpose in working to relieve the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. She gathered goods and found other people to help her community.
Olivares is a daughter of Mexican immigrants who came to the United States in the late 1970s. She has been dedicated to helping people from the time she was just a toddler, and she grew up in a household where it was second nature to help others in need. She attended her local CPS elementary school, went on to Lane Tech College Prep, and while a sophomore in high school received a scholarship to DeVry University. At age 18 she had graduated from both high school and from college with an associate’s degree.
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She began nonprofit work in 2019 at Chicago Cares, helping others in her own community. In March 2020, when the world was abruptly shutting down because of the pandemic, Olivares wanted to aid those around her. She began collecting spare diapers and delivering them to community people in greatest need. Soon she started getting both requests and donations for other goods such as food and masks. She quickly built a rotating pantry of items that she delivered in her spare time.
With the help of family, she formed a team of drivers who delivered boxes of food and hundreds of masks and diapers weekly to residents infected with COVID. She helped serve over 1,200 residents, getting them resources and educating them on where to get tested and how to stay safe.
In December, when vaccines became available, Olivares scheduled and managed a vaccination site where over 11,000 people received their first and second vaccine doses in the span of eight weekends. By September 2021 she had helped to create vaccination sites that served over 18,000 people in Belmont Cragin alone.
“Anyone can change the world, it’s just a matter of taking it one step at a time, one day at a time and making sure you leave it better than you found it”.