Archive for February, 2012

AALEAD is proud to announce that our Keynote Speaker for this year will be Washington’s own Eun Yang, NBC News4 Anchor/Reporter and our Emcee will be Becky Lee, 2nd Runner-up, Survivor: Cook Islands TV series and Executive Director of Becky’s Fund. Read more about our exciting speakers below:

Eun Yang

Eun Yang is a morning anchor on NBC4. She also serves as a host on NBC Washington Nonstop.

Before joining News4 in 2002, Yang was one of the first reporters hired by the National Geographic Channel in Washington. While there, she traveled all over the world, filing stories for National Geographic Today. Prior to that, Yang was at WUSA-TV for six years, working her way up from a reporter trainee to a substitute anchor.

Yang was named Alumna of the Year by the University of Maryland Asian Studies Program and received a Community Service Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans. She also received the Student Role Model Award from the Korean American Scholarship Foundation. Washingtonian magazine has recognized Yang twice, as one of DC’s 100 People to Watch and as one of DC’s Stars of Local TV News.

See her full bio here.

Becky Lee

As a young leader and catalyst for change in the fight against domestic violence, Becky Lee is the force behind Becky’s Fund, a national non-profit focused on domestic violence prevention and education.  After receiving her B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan, she became a lawyer to help victims of domestic violence.  Interested in the prevention of domestic violence, Ms. Lee has dedicated her life and career to helping survivors of domestic violence over the last 13 years as an advocate, a policy associate, and an attorney.

After coming in third on the reality show, Survivor: Cook Islands, in 2006, she used her prize money to start Becky’s Fund, which executes its outreach strategy through national awareness and media campaigns, using radio, print and tv PSA’s to connect victims to resources and help. The organization leverages education, web 2.0 technology and essential resources to enable critical one-on-one connections between survivors and victims and works on addressing domestic and dating violence with both men and women as a human rights issue.

See her full bio here.

Come celebrate the Year of the Dragon with AALEAD as we highlight the personal success stories of our students, introduce you to our VIP hosts, and much more. At our event, you will have the opportunity to network among some of Washington’s top business and government leaders who are all committed to serving the needs of Asian American youth.

Honoring Latham & Watkins, LLP
as recipient of the 3rd annual Washington LEADer Award

Annual Dinner Honorary Chairs:

Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono
Hawaii, 2nd District

Congressman Mike Honda
California, 15th District

Senator Daniel K. Inouye

County Executive Ike Leggett
Montgomery County, Maryland

Michael Wong
Principal, IBB Conulting Group

Individual Ticket: $125
Table of Ten: $1000
Click here for Corporate Sponsor Package info

Contact: Rick Chen
(202) 884-0322 x 104

Check back for exciting updates on the program!

Please enjoy the photo highlights from last year:

Cooking classes at SSP in 2012!!

Twice a month, we have cooking classes to teach the students how to prepare various meals. Learning how to cook has a direct impact on healthy eating lifestyles and  adds to student’s ability to become more independent.

On February 2nd, our SSP students tackled a complex chicken katsu and mashed potatoes recipe. Students were broken up into 3 teams and each team had 3 different items to prepare.  Students were responsible for creating a made from scratch natural jus, thyme and sage mashed potatoes, and a chicken katsu.  It was exciting to see each group experimenting with different flavors and helping each other out.  Each group had distinct style and flavors for their dishes. In one instance, a student realized that the natural jus was a bit on the salty side but managed to even out the taste by adding mustard to balance the flavor.  In the final presentation of the meal, the students had to opportunity to discuss what was challenging and surprising about the final results of their meals. They realized that the sodium in chicken stock needed to be diluted with water. The students had to be mindful of cooking temperatures to not burn the breaded coating and still cook the chicken evenly.  At the end of the class every plate was picked completely clean and the students walked away smiling and full!

here is the link to the recipe that we made:

At the beginning of this month, 34 of our Elementary School AALEADers from Thomson and Bancroft ES’s went on a field trip to the US Capitol Building. The day started off cold and windy, but the bright sun soon warmed us up as we traveled to the Capitol. Before the official tour, students got to explore the Capitol Building Museum, which included models of the Capitol and surroundings from the end of the 18th century to the present – students were amazed to see how much the area has changed! Thank you to our wonderful museum docent who showed students around and explained the significance of the models.

The tour itself started with beautiful 15 minute video introducing students to the history and significance of the US Capitol Building.

Students waiting for the video to start!

Next it was off to the Rotunda, where our tour guide shared about the construction of the Capitol Dome as well as the artwork and statues that decorate the inside.

Our next stop was the statuary room, where students saw statues sent from all over the country and learned that the room was originally built to be the House of Representatives chamber. They also learned a bit about acoustics and got to test out how sound carried from one side of the hall to the other.

Thank you to Mr. David Cox and Ms. Susan Rohol from Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s office for arranging this tour for us! Our students enjoyed the tour very much and truly benefited from the experience.

Thank You!!

National Parks Service at Bancroft AALEAD

In continuation of our program theme, “Get Involved …in Government”, we welcomed a guest speaker from the National Parks Service at our Bancroft program.

Ranger Alexis shared with us about the National Parks Service (NPS) and Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, where she works. Ranger Alexis also talked about the founding of the NPS in 1916 (Yes, Jason, that’s 96 years ago, excellent math skills! :P ) and the services the NPS provides for all of us.

Our Bancroft AALEADers also learned about some wildlife that lives in Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the DC region, getting the opportunity to feel the pelts of many of these animals.

Thank you Ranger Alexis for taking time out of your busy schedule to come share with our students!

On Monday, January 16th 2012 AALEAD students, parents, mentors, and staff came together to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by participating in the MLK Day of Service in Downtown Silver Spring. Students and staff collected small toiletries from their families, friends, and the general public to make toiletry bags to donate to the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless.  Some students sorted bottles, while others packaged small rolls of toilet paper into zip-loc bags.

Some of our AALEAD students also had the opportunity to speak with the Montgomery County Executive, Isiah Leggett, about community service and were able to have a picture with him.  After packaging over 80 bags, students participated in a community service reflection and talked about why they celebrated Martin Luther King’s birthday.

“It’s important because of racism.”

“Martin Luther King wanted everyone to be equal.”

“Sometimes, students say mean things at school because of stereotypes and stereotypes sometimes make it hard for different people to get along.”

The students shared stories and listened to an excerpt of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech. After hearing the speech students were asked to share some of their own non-material dreams.

“I have a dream that one day we could all get along.”

“I have a dream that people will not be separated.”

“I have a dream that it will all be worth it.”

It was truly a great day of service, reflection, and time for AALEAD students to come together and to be a part of the larger community in Montgomery County!

On January 20, AALEAD high school students were given the opportunity to visit the Capitol in Downtown D.C. When we entered a very grand hall, we were directed to a small theater and watched this very inspiring short film about our country America.  After, we received a wonderful tour around the building showing us elegant interior designs, wonderful architecture, and the life size statues of our influential leaders.

One room we were led into was the dome shaped room which contained a collection of beautiful large paintings of scenery that illustrated the beginnings of American history. The ceiling was the most mesmerizing in the room. The paintings and creative artistry was captivating! Throughout the tour, many enjoyed the entertainment provided by the tour guide as he shared stories behind some of the artifacts. One thing he showed us was the “whispering spot” in the old House of Representatives.   It was a specific spot in the room where you could hear conversations from the other side of the room. Everyone thought it was really impressive.

Nearing the end of our tour, a very kind security guard gave us a surprising chance to check out the room where the press interviews the President and other important figures of the government. We all took turns at the stand taking the microphone and pretending to be powerful individuals. That portion of the tour was the most exciting!

Overall, we all enjoyed this opportunity and we were happy we had a lot of fun! Special thank you to Mr. David Cox and Ms. Susan Rohol from Minnesota Senator Al Franken’s office who helped schedule this memorable event for us!  THANK YOU!!

Blog Written By: AALEAD Maryland Youth Council Historian, Megan

Photo Credit: AALEAD Staff

Press release: AALEAD responds to Bullying


DC Non-profit Helps Asian Students Tackle Stereotypes and Bullying and Builds Civic Engagement

WASHINGTON, DC (February 15, 2012)

“Hey, Chinese girl! Get the ball!”
“But I’m not Chinese!”

“Go back to your country!”
“I was born in the U.S. I am in my country!”

“I know what Asian sounds like: ching, chong, chang!”
“I don’t even know what that means!”

While stereotypes these days are often used for comedic relief, the unfortunate reality is that their racial undertones still pervade even within the politically-correct communities of Washington D.C. According to DC-based non-profit Asian American LEAD (AALEAD) Executive Director Rosetta Lai, “as if racial discrimination isn’t enough of a challenge, those that fall below the poverty line suffer benign neglect through the model minority myth – that all Asian Americans are highly educated, wealthy, and thus, need no support.”

The facts speak otherwise: in DC, Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), one of the fastest growing and most diverse minority groups,  make up 3% of the total population; however, 13% live below the poverty line. Similarly, in Montgomery County, Maryland more than 6,000 Asians live below the poverty line.

AALEAD is currently helping DC metro area students from twelve different Asian countries shed light on the darker side of “funny.” Stereotypes not only hurt self-image and isolate students, but they can also lead to bullying. In January 2012, AALEAD Middle School students had the opportunity to participate in a workshop where they were able to speak their mind, share experiences and reflect on how to respond to stereotypes and bullying.

Students broke into groups and presented skits reflecting different kinds of bullying (physical, emotional, psychological), which included the stereotyping of Asian Americans, such as the ones mentioned in the dialogues above. Each skit represented realistic situations. After the skits, there was an open discussion on various stereotypes cast against the students themselves and how students have and can respond to bullying in any form. Students revisited the incidences at South Philly High in 2009 and more recently, the death of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen. These discussions helped students to be open, strong and hopeful.

Founded in 1998, AALEAD is the leading community organization that provides educational enrichment and youth development programs to Asian American youth in the District of Columbia and Montgomery County, Maryland. AALEAD’s mission is to promote the well-being of low-income and underserved Asian American youth and families through education, leadership, and community building. Their highly dedicated staff, assisted by dozens of mentors and other volunteers, delivers specialized after-school programs, one-on-one mentoring, academic support services and life-skill development for students, and assists parents with school-related issues affecting their children. AALEAD’s goal is to provide a nurturing environment and culturally sensitive guidance so that each child served will be a contributing member of his or her community.

Lai stated that “this year, AALEAD has been focusing particularly on getting our students more civically engaged within their communities. As adults, recent immigrants often have difficulties being heard in their community because of their lack of understanding of government systems or fear of speaking up. This can be extremely detrimental, especially when faced with racial discrimination. By addressing these issues and getting students civically engaged at an early age, AALEAD not only better prepares them for the challenges of adulthood but to be future leaders of their community.”

As a recent example of AALEAD’s civic engagement initiative, two Montgomery County middle school students participated in the County Executive’s budget forums in January 2012 by sharing their personal experiences at AALEAD, emphasizing the importance of continued community support for youth and families like themselves. Both students were initially nervous in preparing for the event, but wrote incredible pieces that captured the attention of both County Executive Ike Leggett and the audience. One student, Henry, shared how AALEAD was like a family and how he appreciated the feeling that friends and family were there for him anytime.  The other student, Jessa, shared how AALEAD staff members were like brothers and sisters who could help her with her school and personal problems.

As the only youth in the room and nearly the only Asians, both students held their own quite well. Henry managed to get called on first and Jessa asked if Leggett would continue to support AALEAD.  He replied, “Yes, it’s a great organization.” Most importantly, the students left the forum feeling proud of themselves.

AALEAD plans to continue its efforts to help Asian American students overcome the effects of stereotypes and bullying. Just as importantly, the organization also plans to build student self-confidence and implement AALEAD’s goal for this year to “Get Involved” through participation in community service and civic engagement.


Jon Anderson

Chief Development Officer

202-884-0322 Ext. 107