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Students were able to reflect on their Summer Mosaic experience by answering a few questions…all in all it was a great summer!

1. What is one thing you learned in Summer Mosaic that you didn’t know before?

I learned a bunch of new stuff about Korea like the languages they speak and who lives there…things like that.

2. What did you enjoy most about Summer Mosaic? Why?

I enjoyed all the fun things we did.  For example, after the trip to UMD, we went to Rita’s to get realllyyy good frozen ice.  And also the paint war..That was probably the BEST part of camp.  It was super duper fun (:

3. What is something you will always remember about Summer Mosaic?

I will alwaysss remember all the fun things we did and how close we, who were mostly strangers to each other, got. I think that was the most memorable part. Making a bunchh of GREAT people. :D

- Maris 7th grade

1. What is one thing you learned in Summer Mosaic that you didn’t know before?

Its harder to get into North Korea then Cuba . o.o

2. What did you enjoy most about Summer Mosaic? Why?

Everything , I guess . SUSHI ! :D D [Cause I actually got to taste what I made]
Paint War(: [The park was fun and answering the questions were pretty fun]
Oh and Six Flags . [The rides were AWESOME!]
Everything was superr fun to be honest . xD

3. What is something you will always remember about Summer Mosaic?

The friends I made(:
And how muchoo fun we had this summer .
BEST summer ever ! ^.^

- Danyelle 6th grader

1. What is one thing you learned in Summer Mosaic that you didn’t know before?

That 200 potatoes has enough power to make a cell phone work

2. What did you enjoy most about Summer Mosaic? Why?

We got to do fun activities like going to Theodore Roosevelt Island and Swimming and meeting new people making friends

3. What is something you will always remember about Summer Mosaic?

My friends I made

- Anthony rising 9th grader

AALEAD Summer Blow Out 2010!

For students, waking up at 8am to make it to Columbia Heights had been routine for the past 6 weeks.  Time had flashed forward and the day had come to mark the end of their summer journey. They woke up that  Friday morning bright and early thinking that today was like any day but they quickly realized that they did not have to race out of bed just to catch the metro. Their bodies’ had memorized these morning rituals but today they didn’t have to be anywhere till 4pm.

As the day progressed students met up with one another to discuss what their attire for the day would be. They talked about the fun things that they were able to do and all the new people they were able to meet.  As 4pm drew near, students began to arrive at the AALEAD community center eager to help set up and to meet with their friends for that last day of the AALEAD Summer Program.

The evening began with speeches from staff members and acknowledging students who help contribute to the planning process. Students showcased a variety of talents. Some students danced, others sang an original song, and one presented a poetry piece.  In a surprise move, the Maryland High School students presents Don Kim and Jessica Chang with gifts to thank them for all their hard work. Students were saddened to hear that both these amazing role models would be moving on. The room fell silent as Patrick Ardivilla thanked Don Kim for being his mentor. It was in this moment that the room fell into deep reflection. Rarely do we reflect on the times when we make a big impact on each others’ lives. As we look around the room we can recall various memories associated with each face. We celebrate this achievement of coming together and learning treat each other like family. Let us remember all the great times we had here at AALEAD!

Coming to DC was a complete change, but being a part of AALEAD for the summer was beyond anything imaginable. AALEAD welcomed me to their team with open arms and a loving environment. I’ve never interned at a better more passionate place than AALEAD. I’m so glad to have met and worked with such an amazing team. Even though the commute was really far and expensive, after meeting and seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, the train fares were all worth it. I enjoyed all the little workshops and activities with the students the most. Just their curious, cheerful personalities brought the child out in me and remind me of why AALEAD can do what they are doing today. After interning with AALEAD, I am now looking forward to working with other nonprofits in the near future with hopes that they will have a high level of passion like AALEAD.

Summer Mosaic = Summer Fun!

This summer the Maryland AALEAD Middle School students participated in the annual AALEAD summer program.  This year was called Summer Mosaic to represent the diversity in our student ethnic backgrounds, but also the unique personalitlies they all possess and how as a unit we make up a great, more beautiful picture.

Through the month of July, the students participated in several projects, activities, guest speakers, and fun!  We focused on “Going Green” and expression through art.  Below are pictures of all the different things we were able to do.  Thanks to all the guest speakers and volunteers that came out, the students (you guys made this summer a blast!), the parents who picked up and dropped off their children, and especially Alex from the Wheaton Community Center who allowed the space for our camp.  Thank you all and enjoy as we look back at our summer.

“About Me” students practiced their public speaking skills by presenting their own powerpoint presentation about themselves

Bristlebots! Thanks to our wonderful volunteer James, each student made their own robot made out of recycled toothbrushes and pager motors to create a racing bot

Students researched their own country and created their own tourism videos…on our AALEAD stars! Check out their video by clicking on the link

Tourism of Thailand

Going Green, the students created a compost bin and planted gardens, while also learning about alternative power sources like a potato battery

A visit to H mart to learn about different types of food, and participating in an iron chef competition based on the country they researched…YUM!

IT…that’s what we called the animal we created while also learning about Japanese Mon (emblem), Thank you to our creative volunteer Madeline

Paint War!!!  We are looking very colorful

Learning about Japanese culture was fun, and making the sushi.  But the best part was eating it :)

1st ride on the metro, visiting the Smithsonian, and having fun with the scavenger hunt…priceless

Making the Wheaton Rec Center pretty, we picked up garbage and weeded the area

Six Flags…need I say more?!?

Theodore Roosevelt Island clean up and learning about the history. Thank you Ranger Victoria!

How much does textbooks costs!?! Students got a special tour of the University of Maryland, learned of student life, and bowling

Summer was hot!!! Swimming was a good idea

ADHD, ADD, Autism, dyslexia…we learned about disabilities.  Thank you Dorothy for speaking to us

Summer was just way too much fun!

Saying Goodbye

Some people are good at saying goodbye; I am not one of those people.  Friends and family are very important to me, and today I’m leaving all the friends I’ve made over the past year, as well as my new family (ps- that’s you!).  I’ve been cleaning out my desk for the past few hours, organizing memories into binders, hoping that I don’t forget a thing.

The question I get asked the most is, “How was your year at AALEAD?”  I suppose the word that best sums it up is ‘rewarding’.  I’ve grown so much over the past 12 months, both professionally and personally.   In developing the Workplace Mentoring Pilot, I was encouraged to stretch my skill set to the next level, which I’ll need in my future endeavors.   Watching our diverse staff work together to provide the best care for our  youth inspired me to open my own heart.

What are some of my favorite memories?  Let’s see…the scavenger hunt at the staff retreat last year was tons of fun.  My team won, which is probably why I have such fond memories of it.  Watching the pairs I matched getting along at the mentor/mentee gatherings was great.  The water fight at the MD picnic back in June was pretty awesome too.

What’s next for Christine?  Well, I’ll be returning to graduate school soon, but being a procrastinator, I waited too long to enter this fall.  So until I start studying again, I’ll be working in the DC area.  There are a few exciting options on the horizon, and I’ll make sure to keep AALEAD in the know.

So I’m leaving with no regrets.  My eyeliner did run several times today, but maybe that was from the pollen.  Or maybe it’s because I realized just how much everyone here means to me, and how much I’ll miss them on Monday.  What I won’t miss on Monday is getting up super early.  Sleeping in is definitely sounding good right now.

Introducing…

Maryland Mentoring Pairs!

Sometimes the Mentoring Program has mentees that don’t attend our after-school programs.  In those cases, not everyone recognizes them at all the events.  So hopefully every few months, we can take the time to introduce you to some new faces in our program, as well as to some who have been with us for a longer time.

The first pair to tell you about is Nikki and Beadsie.  Beadsie came to volunteer with AALEAD after hearing about us from an Asian American/ Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) e-mail.  She was a high school math teacher before moving to the DC area.  Beadsie was really excited to have the opportunity to mentor.  Her mentee is Nikki.  Nikki is going into the sixth grade.  She knew about AALEAD because her older brother is in our mentoring program too.  When we first met her brother, she also expressed interest in being in mentoring, so this was a great match!  One of their first meetings together was to watch the dragon boat races for APA Heritage Month.  Welcome ladies!

Another pair who you should know is Tommy and Tony.  This pair has been together for over a year.  Tony is very involved in AALEAD, and we’re lucky to see him at many of our events, including holiday parties and mentor-mentee gatherings.  He is also involved in one of our community partners, MVMA.  Tommy is going into the ninth grade, and enjoys sports.  In fact, he will be playing football for his high school this fall!  We’re so glad to see this pair lasting into the future.

Here are Beadsie and Nikki!

We had a wonderful first Friendraiser this past Tuesday, which took place at The Irene reception room in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The event was specifically held to benefit the DC Secondary School Program. Over 40 guests were in attendance to learn about our mission and hear compelling program experiences from our student representative, Nipa Islam. Throughout the evening, attendees networked while enjoying wine and delicious hors d’oeurves, courtesy of MeiWah Restaurant. Some of those highlights are documented in the photos below.

We want to particularly recognize the following guests for coming out to showing their support for AALEAD and the Secondary School Program:

AALEADership Circle members

Julia Chang Bloch

Anne Garnett

Janet Gordon

Amy Hoang Wrona

Dorothy Hsiao

Khanh Le

N. Minh Le

AALEAD Friends

Marge duMond

Amanda Gu

Georgia Irvin

Janet Lai Cam

Joseph Leitmann

Lourdes Morales

Tanya Nguyen

Mariama Richards

Corinna Shen

Jorinna Zuber

Mentoring Ice Cream Social

It was always a dream of Yamir’s to hold a summer ice cream social, so to celebrate the month of July, the Mentoring Program invited our mentors and mentees to the AALEAD house in DC for a fun afternoon of ice cream sundaes.

Pairs enjoyed chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and mint chocolate chip ice cream, drizzled with caramel and hot fudge.  Topping things off were walnuts, cherries, whipped cream, and pineapple chunks.  After two and three helpings, most people were full.

With our ping pong table out for use, students and mentors took turns working on their serves and returns.  For one new mentee, it was her first ping pong game, and she ended up beating a more seasoned mentee, much to her delight!

The event also marked the last one for Yamir and Christine as manager and coordinator.  As we introduced our new program coordinators, Alex and Micah, there was a sense of bittersweetness.  While we are both sad to be leaving, watching how the program is growing and seeing everyone come say goodbye to us was very rewarding.

Look forward to posts from our new coordinators, and have a great summer!

Beginning on August 20th, Landmark Theatres Bethesda Row Cinema will be presenting Mao’s Last Dancer,  which is directed by Bruce Beresford. Beresford directed the 1989 Oscar winner for Best Film, Driving Miss Daisy.

Mao’s Last Dancer is a drama based on Li Cunxin best-selling autobiography. It tells the epic story of a young poverty stricken boy from China and his inspirational journey to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer.  It weaves a moving tale about the quest for freedom and the courage it takes to live your own life.

This is definitely a must-see film! For more information, check out the film’s official site here. Information on Landmark Theatres can be found here.

Eun Yang, NBC 4 speaks to SSP students

Unlike many other Washington, DC-ians who have to wake up at the crack of dawn to see Eun Yang, the NBC news reporter, the DC High School students were able to hear from her on a cloudy Tuesday afternoon.

Eun Yang sharing her story to HS students

Students were bewildered and amazed to hear that Ms. Yang wakes up at odd hours of the morning to be able to deliver the news, and try and balance her family life. They were inspired to hear her passion for journalism, and how that took her to where she is today. Ms. Yang shared her struggles in balancing family and work and encouraged the students to acknowledge the sacrifices that need to be made to reach your goal.

The DC High School students pose in a picture with Eun Yang!

Following her talk, students asked insightful questions that sparked some discussions. Questions from students ranged from how did you get your job to how is it to be an Asian-American woman in the field to if she had hair and makeup artists at her disposal (she does not) to what the realities were as a someone famous and in the spotlight. Students appreciated her insight, helpful answers, and positive advice.

We hope to see you again, Ms. Yang, but for now we’ll watch NBC4!