By Shaima Ahmad VA High School Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of Shaima Ahmad
Yesterday, Anandale High School AALEADers came together and reminisced about their past year with AALEAD. Surely, our youth have come along way since they started their journey back in September. The over all consensus was that this year was full of opportunities and experiences that they may not have experienced outside of AALEAD. The youth remembered the team building activities they took part in the beginning of the year and the endless icebreakers so they could get to know one another. The highlights definitely involved FOOD and FIELDTRIPS – sushi, ramen, Vietnamese spring rolls, ECAASU, college visits, Varun Ram Meet and Greet, and of course Fiesta Asia! The youth also took some time to dwell over conversations they had on issues of culture, racism, stereotypes, oppression, and youth power. They felt that as a group they were comfortable to share their viewpoints and had constructed a safe space where they could share without being judged.
This year has been an educational and culturally enriching experience for our youth but each and every one of them agree that AALEAD gave them the opportunity to meet people and create lasting friendships with peers they otherwise would probably never have met – “It’s like we are part of a family, not only in Annadale but part of a bigger AALEAD family”. AALEADers at Annandale are looking forward to the following year with bigger and better plans in the making! As one of our youth expressed “with all the variables we have in our lives, it’s nice to have AALEAD as a constant!”