Helen Cao is CASL’s Associate Director of Children Services. She has been part of CASL’s mission to catalyze the transformation of individuals, families and the community for an equitable future since 2017.
Helen graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. During her time there, she worked at the Champaign Child Development Center with America Reads American Counts as a classroom assistant/educator with low-income 3 to 4-year-olds. Upon graduation, she worked as an AmeriCorps member with CityYear Chicago. CityYear works to address the lack of equitable access to educational opportunities worldwide. In Chicago, CityYear AmeriCorps members partner with teachers and schools to add more support and to help create learning environments where all students can build on their strengths and fully engage in their learning. Helen was placed at Schurz High School as a Freshmen Algebra in-classroom educator, where she conducted one-on-one and small group interventions to keep students on track for graduation. She was also the After-School Coordinator, where she organized monthly student engagement activities and after-school tutoring Mondays through Thursdays.
Helen attended CASL’s Head Start program in 1998. She returned to CASL in 2017 as the Child Development Center Coordinator, so she could continue to serve Chinese families and children in acclimating to American culture while still being proud of their native culture. She has since received her master’s degree in Early Childhood Education, with an ISBE teaching license. Most recently, she completed the Nonprofit Management Program offered by the University of Chicago, which addresses the lack of education and mentorship for leadership management on the south side of Chicago.