Explore Will

Mission

We want to give children who are left behind in life a chance to flourish. Our "Walk Into Life and Learn" journey will emphasize character and skills building according to each child's potential. We will help them by giving them the opportunity to experiment and create, both with their own hands and through their own creativity.

We will lead them to a more independent future. We want to encourage their desire to explore, to create and experiment, to find their individual talents and to develop their full persona.

Learn More Our Kids


Mission

We want to give children who are left behind in life a chance to flourish.

Our "Walk Into Life and Learn" journey will emphasize character and skills building according to each child's potential. We will help them by giving them the opportunity to experiment and create, both with their own hands and through their own creativity.

We will lead them to a more independent future. We want to encourage their desire to explore, to create and experiment, to find their individual talents and to develop their full persona.

We believe that every child is a unique gift to the whole community. As such, each child deserves to be raised in appropriate conditions to allow them to discover the right tools to live life to the fullest: tools that will enable them to reach their highest potential.

There are children though who are often invisible to the community at large. They are the ones we want with us. The ones needing attention and additional resources the most. The ones whose roots have been shaken and who have lost hope for the future. These are the ones who need to be supported to thrive.

Our "Walk Into Life and Learn" journey will emphasize character and skills building according to each child's potential.

We will help by giving them the opportunity to experiment and create, both with their own hands and through their own creativity. In the long term, we plan to be a sustainable and self-sufficient learning center. We will show the children how to build and maintain an organic garden on the premises to provide food for themselves and for others. 

We will guide the children. They will learn how to use their own creativity, talents and skills to become upstanding individuals, able to give back to society.

Staff

Our staff members bring a diverse set of skills and experience to Will Foundation, but all share a deep commitment to assist our children development.

  • Pilar Tan
    Pilar Tan
    Board Member - Founder
  • Pilar Tan
    Board Member - Founder
    Pilar Tan was born in Taiwan, raised in Spain, and lived in the United States for over 25 years. She moved to Shanghai with her family in 2005. Pilar has a B.A. in Spanish Literature and Economics from UCLA and a Master's degree in Communication Within Industries from the Complutense University of Madrid in Spain. In Shanghai, Pilar has given talks on etiquette and character building at HP, Degussa, SAS, Shanghai Sports University and CCS. She is also the co-owner of the "PILAR" natural fiber clothing line. Pilar has a passion for changing and influencing young people's minds by empowering them to know who they really are. After she settled in Shanghai, she felt the need to reach out even further, especially to those who had less opportunities to be heard. The Tan family became foster parents to J.J., a young boy from a Shanxi orphanage. From this experience, she began to dream of changing the lives of other orphans like J.J. This dream became a reality through W.I.L.L. Pilar wants to see W.I.L.L. Foundation transforming many more lives, giving children a chance to develop and become real assets to society.
  • Amy Collins
    Amy Collins
    Board Member - Legal
  • Amy Collins
    Board Member - Legal
    Amy Tsui Collins was born in Shanghai but moved to Hong Kong as a baby. She attended Maryknoll Convent School in Kowloon and holds a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota, a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology from Stanford University, a J.D. from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota and an MBA from College of St. Mary's in California. She is an Intellectual Property attorney. Amy has had over 20 years of legal and business experience in the biopharmaceutical area. Amy came to Shanghai in August 2010 with the goal of doing volunteer work. She and her husband have taught English to children from migrant villages and organized a summer program there in 2011. Before that, they lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. For several years, they cooked and organized others to cook dinners for the homeless in Oakland, and raised funds to support daily meals for seniors. Amy joined W.I.L.L. Foundation as she sees the benefits it would bring to orphans who would not otherwise be helped. She believes that making it a self-sustaining community ensures the continuing benefit to more children in the future.
  • Jason Sun
    Jason Sun
    Working Board Member
  • Jason Sun
    Working Board Member
    As I approach mid-life, I've been thinking of life differently. I’ve started to believe that happiness actually lies in inner peace as well as in helping and giving to others. Happiness lies in giving a hand to those who need it. I am a doctor and teacher. I've seen many patients and students meeting with difficulties at the crossroads of their lives, whereas a little help can get a patient through his troubles and save a family - or even his whole life. I have been fulfilling my dream at my job, trying to help every patient and student. Because I was helped in my path of growth, I'm willing to help more people, now that I am able to do that. Thus, I've been looking forward to more opportunities to help. When I first met WILL Foundation, I was moved by your philosophy. You are not putting on a show but actually helping out these children in need, especially since they are disabled. Our powers are limited. It's impossible for us to help everyone or save the earth, but we can do something for society, especially these children. It's true that the future of these children will be tough, but giving them some help and encouragement today can still make a difference.
  • Meg Francisco
    Meg Francisco
    Volunteers
  • Meg Francisco
    Volunteers
    Meg has had extensive volunteer experience since 1998, including legislative advocacy for the Alliance for the Family Foundation in Manila and cultural training for South Asian refugees in Bangkok. Before this, she built a career in commercial and investment banking at Citibank, where she was Vice President for Global Finance, and then at Deutsche Securities, where she managed Equities Research as Director for the Philippines. In recognition of her professional and civic work, in 2007 she was selected as one of the "100 Outstanding Alumnae" of her alma mater Saint Scholastica's College.

    After four years in Bangkok, Meg moved to Shanghai in March 2012 with her husband of 24 years, using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Facetime, and email to keep in touch with their two grown-up children in the United States. She's enthusiastic about having found a way to share the sense of service through WILL Foundation.
  • Sarah Arora
    Sarah Arora
    Will shop Manager
  • Sarah Arora
    Will shop Manager
  • Eileen Chan
    Eileen Chan
    Newsletter Editor
  • Eileen Chan
    Newsletter Editor
    Based in Singapore, Eileen has been working in the editorial field for some 30 years - moving from writer to editor and editor-in-chief and finally managing editor. Areas of coverage includes both newspaper and magazines (consumer as well as trade publications). Some of the companies Eileen had the privilege of working for include:
    - Singapore Press Holdings: Straits Times and Business Times as Features Writer
    - Eastern Publishing as Editor-in-Chief
    - MPH Magazines as Group Editor
    - Eastern Trade Media as Managing Editor
    - APS Media Group as Managing Editor
    During the course of her career, Eileen has always had the pleasure of serving various volunteering organizations as an aside. In her three-year stint in Shanghai (ending in mid-2013), China, she continued the practice and had the privilege of serving a few organizations as their Web and Newsletter Editor. Eileen loves children dearly and also helped out at Cerebral Palsy Association and Caritas Shanghai as an Illustrator and Designer for their various projects. Having seen WILL Foundation at its very beginning: an empty, forlorn farmhouse sitting on Chongming Island, really tugged the heartstrings. The call to volunteer at WILL Foundation required no second thoughts. Eileen thought If I can help in some small ways, I would gladly do so – just to see the children smile again.
  • Flora Amiel
    Flora Amiel
    WILL tours
  • Flora Amiel
    WILL tours
    Flora is a language teacher by profession. She retired from the university when her family moved to their new home as expatriates in Shanghai in 1995. Flora fell in love with the country and its people, and has never stopped researching about Shanghai’s rich history. She soon found out, just exploring the city, about Hongkou at the former International Settlement, where the Jewish immigrant life was very important before and after World War II. This is how she started the tours in 1996 for friends and family whenever they would visit. When the requests started coming from tourists, Flora thought of organizing a paid tour, with profits reverting to charity. A couple of years ago she went to WILL and fell in love with our project. So now the profits are fully reverted to us!
  • Sam Stillwell
    Sam Stillwell
    Art of Living & Development
  • Sam Stillwell
    Art of Living & Development
    Sam Stillwell is an American teacher holding Japanese origins. Sam was indeed born in Japan, but when he was a child, his family moved to Taiwan where he was raised and educated. When adult, Sam decided to major in Special Education and spent 39 years of his life in the Special Education field in Taiwan, Japan and the United States, helping diverse able kids struggling in life to make the most out of their skills. After all this time handling unique and special children, Sam wanted to develop alternative methods of teaching to support challenged kids living in China and he felt that his uncharacteristic background and faceted life gave him the right tools to help nurture the WILL kids. Today Sam puts all his heart into this endeavor, paying an undivided attention to their needs so to nurture them and to give them hope for a brighter future.
  • Cecilia Chen
    Cecilia Chen
    Art of Living & Development
  • Cecilia Chen
    Art of Living & Development
    Cecilia was born and raised in Taiwan. After graduating from the National Taiwan Ocean University with a B.S. in Physics - Ocean Engineering, she taught physics in middle schools and industrial vocational high schools. In addition to Physics, she also taught Biology, Chemistry and Earth Science.After retirement, Cecilia felt compelled to continue her career in education, but this time to help those who could not otherwise go to school. She accepted the invitation to join W.I.L.L. and moved from Taiwan to Shanghai in 2012.

  • David Chen
    David Chen
    Art of Living & Development
  • David Chen
    Art of Living & Development
  • David Chaveriat
    David Chaveriat
    Art of Living and Development
  • David Chaveriat
    Art of Living and Development
    David grew up in Chicago. When he was nine years old, his family fostered half a dozen children and eventually adopted his sister, Annette. He has five decades of growing his heart towards serving others.David has a Masters degree in Education with over 25 years of teaching experience across all grade levels. He has resided in six countries, is the father of three, and is happily married to the girl he fell in love with when he was 14.David is currently a teacher at Concordia International School Shanghai. He plays an integral part in the Concordia Middle School Community Service program at http://studentlife.concordiashanghai.org/msservice/will-foundation/. His goal is to build relationships. "It is through personal connections and giving of one's time and self that deep understanding, love and empathy develop."There are people in this world who have been very blessed in the financial and educational world who are seeking ways to support and educate those requiring assistance. TheWILL Foundation offers unique possibilities that benefit from this synergistic relationship. David's role within WILL is to unite these two entities.
  • Wang Jianyang (Jane)
    Wang Jianyang (Jane)
    Operations
  • Wang Jianyang (Jane)
    Operations
    Jane has been a senior teacher in Middle School for 22 years. She is a graduate of Shanghai Normal University.She believes that love can transform anything to its bright side. She is always willing to spend time with children. She has been recognized as "the most outstanding teacher" and "the students' favorite teacher," and she is also a helpful friend to her students.Jane is aware that teachers may feel challenged with kids in their classes who don't fit into the structure of the regular class system. These teachers may be overwhelmed in educating the kids on how to behave, to study, to create, to cooperate, to appreciate beauty, and cultivate their potential, while recognizing their special needs.
    For this reason Jane decided to join W.I.L.L. It gives her the opportunity to use "love education" first so to help form these children to become assets of society.
  • Alice Xie
    Alice Xie
    Operations
  • Alice Xie
    Operations
    Alice Xie is from Hubei, China, where she worked at the Bank of China for 12 years. In 2002, she moved to Shanghai to work in the textile industry, where her knowledge of languages helps her deal with international customers.
    In 2006, she started volunteering at Caritas Shanghai. She got involved in various activities and went to different hospitals to take care of the orphans whenever they had surgery.
    She sees herself as the intermediary between Chinese and foreigners. Through W.I.L.L., she has found another opportunity to influence more and more Chinese people to get involved in charity projects.

The WILL Story

It all began with a foster mother's dream.

In 2006, Pilar's family took in a foster child, J. J., an orphan from the Shanxi province. He needed urgent medical treatments at a hospital in Shanghai to fix his bilateral cleft lip. After his 3rd surgery, they realized it was better for his future to live with them in Shanghai.

They knew they could offer him a better chance in life than that of the orphanage.

Read our History Our Home


The Will Story

It all began with a foster mother's dream.

In 2006, Pilar's family took in a foster child, J. J., an orphan from the Shanxi province. He needed urgent medical treatments at a hospital in Shanghai to fix his bilateral cleft lip. After his 3rd surgery, they realized it was better for his future to live with them in Shanghai. They knew they could offer him a better chance in life than that of the orphanage.

Pilar couldn't find a place that would understand the educational needs of her foster son. China is investing a lot in helping children to become young adults who are able to succeed not just here but also abroad. Mainstream schools however, while still academically rigorous, cannot accommodate slow learners, and special needs schools solely cater to children with severe learning disabilities, such as Down's Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy.

Her son did not fit into any of these categories, and thus found himself in an educational limbo. Thinking of possible solutions, Pilar began to dream of the possibility of creating a learning center for kids who are like her foster child, slow learners but totally capable of learning and succeeding in life. An learning centre able to support the giant effort made by this country in helping the generation ahead to gain a better future.

She started to share that dream with many others and now her individual dream has become a shared dream. Many others want to train orphans to be contented and productive members of society. They also wanted to raise these children with good values, so that they realize their full human dignity and become assets to their families and their communities.

The "she" became a "we": the solo became a choir, a team, an inspired group. After speaking to many people, she found a kind local family nearby Shanghai who generously donated their unused family land to the project!

The group is now moving forward with the construction of a center where children like J. J. can find a supportive and creative learning environment within which they can discover their potential. The project also involves education in being self-sustaining, partly by using some of the land for farming and producing organic vegetables. Several farmers have offered to help with this part of the project.

WILL Foundation set the first stone down where many will follow. It is a foundation for giving hope and a future for those "unseen" ones which we call orphans. I have seen potentials in J. J. that not many can see. If left alone, he will just become another "burden", but under WILL's wings, he will become and flourish into a man that matters. Our job is to provide them with the right everyday tools so they will possess the right character in making this world a sensible one, and to give them some of the same opportunities that our own kids have. It is because of these "not perfect" beings that we learn and become a better person. - Pilar Tan, Founder