AALEAD’s mission is to support low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth with educational empowerment, identity development, and leadership opportunities through after school, summer, and mentoring programs.
AALEAD was founded in 1998 by Ms. Sandy Dang to initially serve the large Vietnamese refugee population in the District. Ms. Dang witnessed the same needs and types of challenges she faced as a recent refugee to the United States just a few years back. Her vision was to create and grow a community organization that belonged to the community. The rest is history!
The organization initially served a large Vietnamese refugee and immigrant population in Washington, DC. With changes in demographics over the years in the region, AALEAD now serves a multi-ethnic Asian community. In 2006, AALEAD expanded to serve low-income and underserved Asian Pacific American youth in middle and high school in Montgomery County, MD. In 2007, Ms. Rosetta Lai became AALEAD’s second Executive Director. In October 2012, Ms. Surjeet Ahluwalia, the former Deputy Executive Director and Director of Operations, took over as AALEAD’s third Executive Director. AALEAD officially launched in Fairfax County, VA, in March 2014. In November 2016, Neel Saxena, the former Development & Communications Director, took over as AALEAD’s fourth Executive Director.