Many of us clicked away at our computers on Cyber Monday while some of us spent time in long lines on Black Friday to get the best deals of the year. As the year comes to an end, we ask you to take a moment and consider giving back to our young people at Asian American LEAD (AALEAD)!
WHY should YOU support AALEAD, you ask?
1. AALEAD serves a very special population. We serve youth who constantly fall under the “model minority” myth and are rarely seen by society as “in need.” We serve youth who are also deserving of every opportunity and chance to grow and develop. When our target youth are overlooked because of stereotypes, they are not offered all possible resources and opportunities that will help them reach their full potential.
2. AALEAD provides unique opportunities and experiences. As our AALEADers take on leadership roles during program time and even plan their own field trips and events with us, we are reminded over and over again of the impact our programs are having on each youth. Their growth is truly a sight to see.
One example is what we have seen with our high school youth across DC and MD. In their first run last year, the AALEAD High School Youth Council planned, organized and hosted AALEAD’s and the region’s first ever DC Asian Pacific American Youth Summit (click here for more!) at the end of July 2012—for youth, by youth. Our youth secured a space, gathered food donations, reached out to community members as speakers and guests, designed their own T-shirts and spearheaded marketing efforts to raise awareness on the two-day conference. With more than 70 youth, staff, mentors, volunteers and community members in attendance, it was quite the success!
Our Middle School Program youth really stepped it up by taking the lead on facilitating conversations and discussions on issues important to them during programs last year. Topics included stereotypes, bullying, gender privileges and Asian American history, among others. Our youth asked each other questions and share thoughts and opinions that really had them open up to one another. We saw significant growth among our younger AALEADers as youth built up self-confidence, broadened their horizons, and began to confidently voice what issues were important to them.
Lastly, AALEAD’s Summer ME 2012 summer program really amped up positive energy among our middle and high school youth. This first-time collaborative effort between programs helped to define what it means to be a part of the AALEAD family. Our high school youth lead the field trip and activity-planning efforts as group and workshop leaders. Our middle school youth were presented with opportunities and experiences that some have never come across before by their older AALEAD brothers and sisters. The amazing bonds we saw form through this summer program continue to grow today at our after school programs as high school youth now volunteer their time to help at our middle school programs!
It is through opportunities and experiences AALEAD is able to provide that we see our youth learn to make decisions and develop into responsible youth and adolescents who find within them the confidence, strength and light to speak out on issues and make changes in the community important to them together. With your support, AALEAD is able to provide 300 low-income and underserved youth in Washington, DC and Maryland with services and programs that are highly engaging, life changing and have a positive and deep impact.
In these last few weeks of the year, please consider joining our family of community supporters to make a difference in the lives of AALEAD youth who have so much potential!
Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credits: Paola Flores, Sharon Choi