Over the past few weeks, students in the Maryland High School program have been learning about local government and how they can get more involved in government. At first many were discouraged and were not too excited.
I’ve already learned about government in class. Government is boring. Government means wanting to do something, but never getting anything done. I’m too young to be involved in politics.
Many students were concerned about how much impact they have on the government because of their age, but never really stopped to think about how the government impacts them on a daily basis. During programs, students and staff would have conversations about public school environment, transportation, and public works and this helped students to understand how the government impacted their daily lives. Students learned about the Montgomery County Executive, Isiah Leggett, and created models representing Montgomery County.
In addition to learning about local government, a few high school students had a chance to visit the U.S. Capitol and volunteer at the DC One City Summit facilitated by America Speaks. During the One City Summit several of our students helped with translation services and served as note-takers during the discussions. One AALEAD student even participated in the summit! The students were able to witness hundreds of D.C. residents participate in government by offering feedback on government policy and budget issues. From higher education to affordable housing, many issues were addressed at the summit and students were able to participate in a more observatory fashion. Here are some comments from an AALEAD Maryland High School student about the DC One City Summit:
We got to hear about issues in D.C. We saw how many people actually care about the government and want to take a part in it. Everyone was interested and motivated to speak their thoughts on certain issues. Students such as us could participate in the activity.
Though some of the students are not old enough to vote, many of the students are becoming more civically engaged by beginning to ask questions about their government and by attending more events in the community.
So a lot of people have heard about our Maryland AALEAD Youth Council, and a lot of people have been wondering “What is the Maryland AALEAD Youth Council?” Our Maryland AALEAD Youth Council is a student council elected by other AALEAD students consisting of positions such as President, Vice President, Secretary, Historians, Treasurer, and a representative from each school AALEAD collaborates with. We, as a council, help decide the events that we’re going to have and help coordinate how it’s going to happen with the help of the AALEAD staff. We also collaborate with the DC AALEAD Youth Council to see how both high school programs can come together for events and special projects. Our youth council is a great way for students to get more involved in AALEAD and to see how hard it is to actually host an event. If you are an active AALEAD member I encourage you to run for a spot in the AALEAD Youth Council next year. And if you’re not a member of AALEAD then I encourage you to sign up!
Written by: Maryland AALEAD Youth Council Historian, Sabrina
On November 8, 2011, Downtown Silver Spring’s AFI Theater hosted Smithsonian’s recorded program covering the topics of immigration and other organizations raising awareness around the local community. While the others talked about their organization’s improvement plans, a couple of AALEAD’s high school students from Montgomery Blair and Albert Einstein high school collaborated with a youth media organization called Gandhi Brigade to share their stories of life as a young immigrant and their families struggles with assimilation in to America. The program went smoothly and the viewers seemed very interested in the flowing discussion followed by intriguing questions. The Smithsonian Museum located in D.C now plans to improve and update their immigration exhibit to inform the public about the importance of understanding the hardships of emigrating. We also very much enjoyed the fancy goodies provided for us all. All in all we had a splendid evening!
Written by: AALEAD Maryland Youth Council Historian, Megan
Next week Montgomery County will be celebrating their 25th anniversary for Community Service Day and has organized several events throughout the week for residents to participate in community service. As a way to get involved in the community, AALEAD students will be participating in community service and will be hosting a ribbon making event for the American Childhood Cancer Organization on Saturday, October 22 from 10am to 2pm at the Civic Center in Downtown Silver Spring! Each ribbon represents a child who has or has had cancer and will be used for the American Childhood Cancer Organization’s annual tree lighting event. Join us and Get Involved!
Just before the beginning of the school year, students in our Maryland High School Program got together for an orientation BBQ. As part of our theme of the year, “Get Involved….in Dialogue, Government, and Community” students focused on dialogue and talked to each other about programs and offered the coordinator suggestions for the new year. Overall it was a great day for food, fun, discussion and a little bit of volleyball! Welcome back AALEAD students!
On Saturday, March 26, 2011 AALEAD students from the Maryland High School program attended the first annual youth job fair in downtown Silver Spring. They spoke with different organizations, applied for jobs, and used some networking skills they learned during after school programs. The students also handed out their resumes and were able to experience their very first job fair. After the job fair the students were able to enjoy some Vietnamese Pho for lunch which was their favorite part! Good luck AALEAD students! Cross your fingers and hope for some call backs and interviews. All of you were great!
For five weeks, a group of our MD high school students, 5 from Blair and 5 from Einstien participated in the first AALEAD Workplace Mentoring Program. Each Thursday, our students travelled to the IBM offices in Bethesda, Maryland and worked alongside IBM volunteer mentors during workshops covering topics such as career investigation, résumé building, interview skills, workplace etiquette, and internships.
During the five weeks, our students acquired new skills that will help them in their future. Our students also developed professional relationships with their mentors at IBM. Enjoy this short video highlighting the Workplace mentoring experience at IBM.
On Friday, December 11th, our Maryland students, mentees, mentors and community members who have supported AALEAD this year attended our annual Holiday Party. This year we filled up the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity in downtown Wheaton. Students from Blair and Einstein High Schools performed a wide variety of cultural dances, songs and other performances for the enjoyment of everyone.
A special thanks to The Asian Pacific America Bar Association of DC for their continued support of our students! They were kind enough to gather together books which they donated as gifts. As you can see…they were very appreciative.
On Wednesday the 28th Maryland Middle School and High School had an incredible Halloween Party at the Wheaton Community Center. Students from Einstein and Blair High School got together and decorated the area with amazing fun decorations and held some exciting events and stations like face painting and pumpkin pie eating contest. It was great to see High School students and Middle School students able to interact with one another and have a great time.
Along with the party, the Middle School students from Parkland and Eastern helped to write “get well” cards to victims of the tsunami in Samoa and the flooding in the Philippines. The activity helped to remind them that their community can also extend to the global community and that issues in other countries can have impacts on our lives here in the U.S.
Thank you to all the Maryland staff helping to organize the event, and also to the students from middle school to high school. Your words of encouragement are more powerful than you can imagine, and the families of the tragedies will be thankful for your support.