By Kenny Lam, DC Elementary School Program Intern
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
The AALEAD Internship program is an excellent opportunity for folks to get involved in the community and learn about youth development. Kenny L. was a previous summer volunteer for our DC Middle and High School Summer Program and is now our DC Elementary School Program Intern. We are excited to provide opportunities for Kenny to grow professionally, learn new perspectives, and share his culture. Check out his intern introduction blog below!
My name is Kenny Lam, and I am the new DC Elementary School Intern. It is my pleasure to work with the AALEAD team, and I am eager to cooperate with the staff and grow together with the youth in the DC Program in this Spring semester.
It is my senior year at the American University, at which I am currently double majoring in History and Asian Studies, and will receive my degree in this upcoming May.
As an international student who comes from Hong Kong, I share a common origin with the Asian immigrants who migrated into the United States. During my high school years in Hong Kong, I volunteered to provide academic support to Chinese immigrant youth who emigrated into the city and lived below the poverty line. In the volunteer progress, I learned about the hardships immigrant students overcome, and the cultural shock after they move away from their homeland. While these youths struggled to integrate themselves into the Hong Kong society, they were also unable to be familiar with their birthplace in China. From this two-week long volunteering process, I realized that the identity struggle among the immigrant youths lowered their self-esteem and limited their will to succeed in the new environment.
When I volunteered with the AALEAD DC Summer Program in 2017, I had worked with many Asian American youths who were not familiar with their Asian origins. I remembered that when I shared several stories behind classical Chinese idioms, they were amazed at the amount of historical context behind four Chinese characters. Relating my experience in working with mainland Chinese youth with the DC Summer programs, I think it is necessary to encourage the Asian American youths to embrace their Asian origin, which would allow them to develop their pride and self-esteem through understanding their home culture.
I am looking forward to the internship, and I am excited to work with the DC youths in the upcoming Spring. I wish to share my own culture with the youth and learn from their perspective on their homeland as well as their life in the US. I believe this semester will be a wonderful experience for us all.
For more information on our internship program, please contact Freidricka Camille,
our Community College and Internship Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org