Archive for 2011

Kendra- Summer Intern 2011

**Meet Our other Summer ‘11 Interns!: Sandra, Jeff, Drew, and Elan!**

Hi, my name is Kendra Smith and I will be working with the Maryland High school students. I am very excited about getting to know all the students this summer and teaching them about college life as well as learning from their own experiences.

I am a rising senior at Clemson University where I am studying Political Science-Global Politics and East Asian Studies. I studied abroad in Dalian, China last summer 2010 for six weeks where I was immersed in the beautiful Chinese culture.

I have been a Resident Assistant for freshmen at Clemson University for two years where I have been able to assist in first year college students transitioning from life at home to college life in a new city, state, and sometimes a new country. I love learning about other cultures and traditions so I am excited about learning a lot over the next two months with all of you.

MD Middle School AALEADers Give Back

For the last few months of programs in Maryland Middle School, we focused on “Health and Wellness”.  Part of being healthy is also being physically active and being community-minded.  This year the Middle School AALEAD students decided they wanted to give back to their schools and to the environment by planting a beautiful Cherry Blossom tree at each of their schools.

The students got together to dig, plant, and water the trees.  A total of 5 new Cherry Blossom trees were planted.  They also personalized the tree by creating signs that will eventually be hung on the trees to symbolize the dedication of the “AALEAD” tree.  Each school’s Prinicpals were so thankful and continued to compliment how their school benefited so much from AALEAD.

We are so proud of every student for thinking above themselves even though it was really hot and physically demanding to plant a tree.


Hey y’all! My name is Elan and I am one of the latest and greatest to intern for AALEAD. A local boy, I grew up just outside of DC in Takoma Park, Maryland. Entering my senior year at Rice University in Houston, Texas I can thankfully say I am happy to be home and learning new things here at AALEAD as a Communications and Development Intern! Through my work here, I hope to take what I learn to the shaky ground that is Law School. I hope to be able to thank all the lovely staff at AALEAD for helping me get through 1L in the near future.  On another note, as an Asian American (Pinoy!), I feel AALEAD will be the perfect opportunity to get to meet and make an impact on other Asian people’s lives. I am very open to hearing new ideas from y’all and welcome any conversations with the dedicated followers of this blog.

Some interesting little tidbits:

1.  I like to ride my bicycle with a few hundred or so other citizens of the Capital once a month through the streets of DC in an event called Critical Mass.

2. I put Old Bay seasoning on just about every food known to mankind (Try some OB on some peaches next time!)

3.  I assure you that I am one of the biggest Boston Celtics fans in DC you will ever meet. (Paul Pierce is the truth!). Peep me and Doc Rivers:

4. Despite my humble beginnings in the non-profit sector and career opportunities galore, I already have my retirement place in mind: Lani’kai Beach in Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. And Ladies and Gents it is not cheap! But it is hands down the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen! Tell me you wouldn’t want to live here: 

5. Lastly, I aspire to collect every original edition of each Jordan sneaker. So far I’m missing the OG VII’s and XII’s. So if you have any OG VII”s or XII’s in size 13, we definitely just became best friends.

Coolhunting to the Max!

So as I look forward to working here for the next two months, I’m counting on all you cyber neighbors to make my day that much better. Drop a line whenever.



Last night, 7 Bancroft Elementary School students performed as part of DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Celebration!  Our students performed a hip hop dance to Asian pop music and had the audience clapping along.  The students got to see other Asian young people performing, awards for community service, and speeches by Mayor Gray, Allen Lew, City Administrator, and Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA).  Several parents of AALEADers also joined in the audience.  A highlight for the students was getting to take photos with Mayor Gray!

Mayor Gray and Julie Koo (Director of the Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs) pose with AALEADers and family

Mayor Gray congratulates our students on their performance

AALEAD at Fiesta Asia!

On Saturday, May 21, 2011, AALEAD students went to the Fiesta Asia in Washington D.C. It was a bright, beautiful, sunny day and our AALEAD students were super involved in the festivities. Some students walked around to enjoy the different food and performances, while others actually performed!  Some of our AALEAD students had the opportunity to perform for the first time on stage at Fiesta Asia! They performed a Filipino cultural dance called Tinikling. The students had been rehearsing for several weeks after programs, but picked up the dance rather quickly. They danced with confidence, grace, and had fun in the process. Great Job Tiniklers!   

In addition to our very own students performing, even some of our staff members had a short cameo in some performances!  Jonathan Henry, AALEAD Maryland Program Manager, participated in a short martial arts demo with our AALEAD student and Alex Cena, AALEAD D.C. Secondary School Program Coordinator, performed on stage with a short rap performance.  After all of the performances, AALEAD students, AALEAD alumni, staff, mentors, volunteers, and several AALEAD families marched in the cultural parade. There was a sea of orange shirts, smiling faces, and a chant that was heard by everyone watching the parade. Great job to all of our performers and thank you to our staff, mentors, and volunteers for making this day one that we will never forget! 


Hot on the heels of our recent Japan Relief Car Wash event, one of our middle school AALEADer from Newport Mill decided to honor the people of Japan and spread good fortune by creating 1000 paper cranes.

Creating these cranes follows the story from Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes written by Eleanor Coerr.  Below is the summary of the book (referenced:

This true story is of a girl, Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing by the United States. She developed leukemia from the radiation and spent her time in a nursing home creating Origami (folded paper) cranes in hope of making a thousand of them. She was inspired to do so by the Japanese saying that one who created a thousand paper cranes would then be granted a wish. Her wish was simply to live. However, she managed to fold only 644 cranes before she became too weak to fold any more, and died shortly after. Her friends and family helped finish her dream by folding the rest of the cranes, which were buried with Sadako. They also built a statue of Sadako holding a giant golden origami crane in Hiroshima Peace Park.

Now every year on Obon Day, which is a holiday in Japan to remember the departed spirits of one’s ancestors, thousands of people leave paper cranes near the statue. On the statue is a plaque: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.”

Let us continue to keep Japan in our thoughts

Mario Morino, McKinsey & Company, and a host of notable nonprofit leaders have collaborated on a new book that presents a candid indictment of the state of “outcomes assessment” in the social sector. “We funders need to help our grantees define, create, and use the information they need to be disciplined managers,” says Morino, “rather than foisting unfunded, often simplistic, self-serving mandates on our grantees.”

Morino is the chairman of the Morino Institute and co-founder/chairman of Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP), a philanthropic investment organization that concentrates investments of money, expertise, and contacts to improve the lives and boost the opportunities of children of low-income families in the National Capital Region. Knowing the challenges that low-income and underserved Asian American youth are faced with in the DC area, particularly recent immigrants, VPP chose AALEAD to be part of their first investment portfolio alongside other outstanding youth development organizations in the region. For his dedicated support to underserved youth, AALEAD recognized Morino’s good work by awarding him the first annual Washington LEADer award at AALEAD’s 11th Annual Dinner.

As a organization continuously striving to improve management practices, AALEAD  is excited to see the release of this book. The authors of Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity offer practical advice for nonprofits and funders seeking management approaches that complement heart with head, passion with information.

Leap of Reason: Managing to Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity, available at, presents an impassioned plea and logical plan for meeting the difficult challenges of our times with management approaches that complement heart with head, passion with information.

Dragonboat Event Being Rescheduled

Due to the weather and past rainy days, the water levels of the Potomac have reached a flood warning.  The event has been rescheduled at a later time and day.  Once that is announced, AALEAD will also announce it with another blog posting.

Thank you for your patience and support.

But please join us for Fiesta Asia this weekend, as that will still be going on!

Three of our wonderful AALEAD board members, Virgina Cheung, Jessica Hsu, and Thu Anh Nguyen along with Surjeet (Director of Programs), came to visit both the middle school and high school program in Maryland the 17th of May.

The board members were able to meet some of the Maryland High School students at Einstein High School.  The students and board members participated in the “Asian Food Scramble” where each person was given an Asian food card and had to find five other people to make a balanced Asian diet.  Students and board members learned about durian, persimmons, bok choy, Korean BBQ, Filipino cuisine, and were able to share their own food interests as well.

At Loiederman Middle School AALEAD, the board members helped with our Country Investigation Project of Korea.  After splitting the students into groups, each board member was assigned to a group to help with their research.

Thank you Virginia, Jessica, and Thu for coming by and meeting with us! We hope to see you and others again!

For the past 5 weekends the AALEAD Warriors dragonboat team have been preparing for our big event on May 21st in DC where they will get to compete against out youth teams in a group race.  They have been hard to work practicing their timing, their strengths, and also getting to know each other.

This year AALEAD is proud to have 20 of our DC SSP, MD High School and Middle School AALEAD students representing the team to hopefully bring home several medals.

Below are some pictures from our practices…