By Lynda Nguyen, AALEAD Summer Development & Communications Intern
Photos Courtesy of Lynda Nguyen, AALEAD Summer Intern
Asian American LEAD summer has officially started!
Yesterday was the kick-off event for AALEAD Summer Fusion: the summer program for our Maryland middle and high school students. It was a day spent dancing, rapping,…and hot air ballooning? (which was probably my most favorite activity, take a look!)
As I stated in my last blog post, I am a former AALEADer (cerca 2007). Yesterday was my first time in an AALEAD program since I graduated. It was such an amazing experience to not only meet the students that are so actively involved in AALEAD, but to also see our very passionate staff in action. Between meeting new students, and embarrassing myself during icebreaker time (don’t ask), yesterday felt like a reintroduction to AALEAD.
After being gone for so long, the visit renewed my sense of community. The students were willing to take on new challenges, willing to learn, willing to try; it reminded me of my experience at AALEAD. I was always encouraged by AALEAD staff, always introduced to new things, new ideas. Summer program was not just another way to occupy my time, it was the place that helped me grow, explore, and most importantly, lead. Now, as an alumnus, seeing that again first-hand reaffirms why I wanted to come back.
As an organization that seeks to help Asian American youth, AALEAD heals the community from within. Through special programming surrounding the arts and leadership-building, AALEAD helps foster creativity, entrepreneurship, and tenacity in its students. AALEAD is such a special place to me. Though so many years have passed, the heart of the organization is still the same, evidence that AALEAD is truly something exceptional.
To the Maryland staff and students: Thank you again for such a warm welcome. I will be back for another visit before you know it, cannot wait for the rest of the summer!