AALEAD Day 2017: Heroes Across the DMV

By Ari Pak, MD High School Program Coordinator

Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

If you were at the Silver Spring Civic Center last Saturday June 3, you already know how big AALEAD celebrates our community members! If you couldn’t make it out, don’t worry–I’m here to give you a peek into our first ever AALEAD Day! Photo highlights from the day reveal all that our youth accomplished over the year, how they continually challenge themselves to step into exciting leadership roles, and how we all deserve a little shine. With over 200 attendees, AALEAD Day brought together our AALEAD youth, families, and staff from across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia to celebrate with art, musical performance, and inspirational speeches. Below are a few moments captured on camera to bring you–another important part of our AALEAD community–in to share our AALEAD Day experience!



DSC_0178AALEAD Youth MC’s Keep the Show Hype & AALEAD Day is Proclaimed in Montgomery County!

  Our AALEAD Youth MC’s kept the laughter flowing and the cheers coming all day. They reminded us that AALEAD unites us across the entire DC, Maryland, and Virginia region, allowing us to make friendships and connections.

Pictured left you see our youth MC’s Ying C., Tran N., and Sherry C. with AALEAD Executive Director Neel Saxena and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett during the proclamation of June 3 as AALEAD Day. We celebrated many successes on AALEAD Day, one of those this year being our 10-Year Anniversary of holding AALEAD programming in Montgomery County.

A Hero is…

Our Elementary School youth kicked off our AALEAD Day in heroic style with a creative take on the question “Who is a hero?” Check out their thoughtful answers, colorful art work, and perfectly executed mannequin challenge in the video below!

AALEAD Alumni Sings Power

Jessa M., an AALEAD High School Program alumni, returned to share her musical talent and inspiration with the crowd. Jessa shared about how AALEAD helped her to be “standing on the stage in [that] moment” and sang messages of love, empowerment, and perseverance. See the excerpt below of her  original song “Take Three.”

“Be brave
Please don’t let your voice go to waste
If we keep fighting
I know we’ll make a change
Ah-I got ya back
We gotta
stand strong

We singing
Voice over violence
And no we won’t be silent
Are watching over me
I’m singing songs with a reason
A nations heartbreak isn’t easy
But we will come together
Are you listening?”

transitionShine for AALEADer’s Academic Accomplishments

Academic empowerment is an important part of AALEAD’s mission. This year we got to celebrate our youth’s successful completion of educational milestones:

  • – 3 youth graduated elementary school
  • – 22 youth graduated middle school
  • – 30 youth graduated high school
  • – 2 youth graduated community college
  • Congratulations to our youth who graduated from a chapter of your education and get to start a new adventure next year! And congratulations to all of our youth who successfully completed another year of learning, growing, and building community!

AALEAD Alumni Speech: Pursue Your PassionsDSC_0125

Lisa T., an alumni of both our High School and Community College AALEAD Programs, presented a powerful keynote speech to the crowd. She shared with us her story of discovering her passion for art. She shared that it was not always easy, and knows it will not always be. Lia notes that while she is still figuring out exactly what she wants to do with her passion for art, she knows she has the support of AALEAD and her peers to get her to her next step. This is what AALEAD means: to find your passion, to create your path from scratch, and to have support along the way to reach your destination.

AALEAD Photo Booth

Don’t have instagram? No problem. Countless youth (and staff) posed in our AALEAD Instagram Photo Booth. What silly face would you make in your  AALEAD Day Instagram cameo?DSC_0192DSC_0047




















































Special Thanks to our community partners for the donations and event support:

Siu’s Asian Bistro


Blue Pearl Buffet & Grill

Silver Spring Civic Center Event Staff

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett

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