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First Annual LOTUS FESTIVAL!

On Saturday, May 16th, AALEAD hosted its first Lotus Festival!

The idea for the event and the name for the event came from the AALEAD Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors are a select group of high school youth who met once a month to figure out ways to promote AALEAD and share about what we do. They decided that an event like the “Lotus Festival” would be a great way to show others about our programs! And it was!

The event was held at our Center in Columbia Heights from 1:00-3:30pm.
Inside, there were a host of games, arts & crafts, programs posters, slideshows, and FOOD! It was also a day for us to recognize some of our most important members of the AALEAD community: our volunteers!

Students set up a face painting booth and arm wrestling booth, among other carnival-esque games!

A raffle was held throughout the event giving out prizes such as AALEAD tote bags and gift cards!

The tug-of-war game was a tough competition between our MD and DC youth.
MD was victorious!
THANK YOU to all who came out and made the Lotus Festival a huge success!
We hope to see you next year!

Capital One invited students for a financial literacy workshop and a tour of their campus.

Youth were surprised to find a “green” atrium, a gym, and a recreation room within the work building!

Students were able to job shadow one-on-one with two employees, who spoke about their life paths and their jobs!

Thank you Capital One for an amazing day!

On March 29, 2009, Asian American LEAD held its “AALEAD’s Got Game?” basketball tournament at Bell Multicultural High School, which featured DC Councilmember Tommy Wells and members of his staff. About 100 people were in attendance to see the towering adults engaged in friendly competition with AALEAD’s high school students. During the 5-on-5 game, AALEAD’s team had a surprising early run of 8-0. However, with a few well-placed shots from Mr. Wells himself, the game was tied with only 1 minute left. At the last moment, however, AALEAD’s students made one last push and scored the winning point to win the game.

Following the DC Council game, twelve other AALEAD student teams competed in 3-on-3, half-court games for the 1st place trophy. The competition was intense; however, students never lost sight of the importance of good sportsmanship. In addition to participating in the games, students also assisted staff in running the concessions stand to help fundraise for the event. The event was a tremendous success and provided both students and DC Council members a fun and active way of getting to know each other.

On Thursday, March 19th, AALEAD students were invited to a Vital Voices Global Leadership Award Ceremony. It was an inspiring night for all to hear powerful stories from women who had turned their adversities into opportunities to help others.

The event took place in Washington DC’s John F. Kennedy Center and drew celebrity presenters such as Maria Bello, Sally Field, Candice Bergen, Diane von Firstenberg, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Nicholas Krstof, Maggie Grace, Ben Affleck and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. The benefit honored courageous women leaders who have overcome poverty, human trafficking, violence against women and other forms of discrimination to promote positive change in their communities. Receiving the Global Trailblazer award was special guest Hillary Rodham Clinton.

One of our students reactions to the event:
“The vital Voices Award Ceremony was one of the most if not THE most inspirational and up-lifting events that I have attended in my whole life. Those were some women and I have so much respect and support for them, because of the powerful things they do in their everyday lives. I want to thank Vital Voices for inviting us and I would love to go again next year!”
-Farida Uddin, Einstein High School

After the event, HongQian Zhou, a senior at Wilson High School was interviewed for her reaction. As she walked through the reception, she had the chance to take a photo with actress Maggie Grace!

Last March 25, our Bancroft and Thomson students had the opportunity to participate in the national Subway PEP rally (P-Play more, E-Eat right, P-Push away the screen). The students enjoyed meeting and playing with kids from other DC schools, totaling almost 300 participants. They engaged in the different games and sports such as basketball and soccer.

The kids also had the opportunity to meet Ms. Laila Ali (daughter of Mohammad Ali) and be coached by Tab Ramos the Olympic Soccer Champion.

They also enjoyed personally meeting Jared Fogle the Subway spokesman. The celebrities creatively encouraged the students to be physically active and eat healthy food even in their young age.

After a week’s themed lessons about superheroes, Thompson students had the culminating experience of meeting real, live superheroes in their neighborhood. Last March 13 our Thomson students had a tour at the Fire Station at 13th Street. The personnel of 13th Street Fire House presented to the students their daily activities and explained some of the equipments they use in this profession. They also allowed our students to tour their facility and experience first hand getting inside the fire truck.

Ice Skating at Wheaton Ice Rink

Students from Argyle and Parkland Middle Schools spent an afternoon getting to know each other and skating around Wheaton Ice Rink this past Thursday. It was a good opportunity for students to know more about the other members of AALEAD’s after school program. As it turned out, several already knew each other, but didn’t know that the other was in AALEAD at their school. We had some initial difficulty in getting everyone laced up:

…and then there was a lot of nervous grabbing the wall and a few falls, as we began…

..but, eventually everyone got the hang of skating and ended up having a great time.

The Circus is in town…

Last night, a handful of lucky AALEAD students got to enjoy a night at the Ringling Brothers Circus. None of the students from Maryland had ever been inside the Verizon Center, let alone had a chance to see a circus full of tigers and fireworks, so it was a night of firsts for everyone…

Everything, from the trip on the metro ride, to the clowns piling on their bicycles, elicited laughs from the younger members of our group and everyone took care of one another and had an enjoyable evening…well worth missing bed time by a few minutes.

A special thank you to Easter Seals for helping us secure tickets to the event. You can be sure that AALEAD kids put them to good use!

SSP Lock In March 6 – 7 2009

On March 6th, 30 AALEAD youth met at our Community Center in Columbia Heights for some quality bonding and fun time! The Lock In was a success – with games, movies, and food planned for the whole night.

Youth had this to say about their experiences:

Eduardo -”I enjoyed the lock-in a lot because we had a chance to meet and get to know people better. We did stuff like ice breakers where we introduced ourselves and said something about ourselves. We also watched movies and played taps. Late at night we played a game where we had to be honest and answer some questions. In the morning we cooked breakfast and then left – which was the worst part (besides no sleep!)”

Jimmy – “The lock-in was fun and exciting. It was a way for us to bond and get a long. Hanging – talking about problems – so we can help on another. My favorite part of the lock in was our Guys Time. The worst part was leaving for home.”

Thanks to all the staff that spent the night – Don Kim and Jonathan Henry! and of course the staff and volunteers that supported us at various times in the night – Kelly, Miori, Yamir, and Kendra!

Students from AALEAD’s Maryland High school and Middle school programs worked hard to make more than a hundred sandwiches for bagged lunches which were then donated to The Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless. Each bagged lunch contained a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a bag of pretzels…it will provide a nutritious lunch to someone who otherwise would have to go without.

All of the AALEAD students gave up three very valuable hours of their spring time Saturday to come work hard to help others. We’d like to thank everyone that came out to help and we definitely appreciate the fact that all these kids decided to come help out on the weekend.