Yixiu Chen is the Learning Centers Manager of the six Open Door Learning Centers. Yixiu believes that literacy has the power to ultimately change individuals’ lives and transform communities by providing practical skills for navigating one’s environment. She agrees with Paulo Freire’s notion that to “read the word is to read the world”. Literacy is a critical tool that helps people engage and understand the world around them and is necessary for positive social change. Before starting with Literacy Minnesota Yixiu worked with Minneapolis Community Education directing an afterschool program as well as conducting community outreach for their adult enrichment program. Prior to that, she worked at CAPI USA, a nonprofit that serves refugees and immigrants, as the Civic Engagement Coordinator. During her college years, she organized with UNITE HERE in Chicago. Over the past six years, she has lead a number of trauma-informed mindfulness and yoga classes focused on resiliency for local students at inner-city schools. She also served a full two-year term in Peace Corps as a Community Enterprise Development Specialist in rural Madagascar. She has a Master’s degree from UMASS Amherst in International Education as well as a B.A. in Economics and International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Her hobbies include spending time with her husband and infant son, learning foreign languages, practicing yoga, traveling off the beaten path, hiking/camping and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.