AALEAD VA 2021 Showcase: Empower – RECAP

By: Kathy Jiang, VA HS Program Coordinator

Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

VA Programs came to a celebratory end on June 11th with our 2021 Showcase: Empower. Together, youth, staff, partners, and other event guests reflected on a school year filled with finding new ways to connect virtually and build community. Led along by our lovely youth MCs, Kelly and Lola, we received some words of wisdom from our MS youth, reviewed our program highlights and special APAHM projects with our HS youth, and commemorated our Class of 2021 seniors.

We kicked off the afternoon with a 5 Ways to Make Your Life More Positive presentation by our MS youth, who pulled their knowledge from past workshops on mental health & wellness, as well as their own life experience. 

Then, we reminisced about our time at AALEAD this semester, from the best of our weekly workshops to our exciting VA Days (which you may have read about in a past blog post!), and all the different ways we came together to explore our identity, share our stories and have fun–– both within and across age groups, and within and with our local community.  

VA Days Galore!

Our reel-board of favorite weekly workshops.

VA programs culminated last month with a Zine project. We asked our youth to answer the question, “What does empowerment mean to you?” via their art and words. HS youth presented our AALEAD VA 2021 Zine: Empowerment during showcase, and you can view the full publication at tinyurl.com/AALEAD21Empowerment.

A preview of our zine.

HS youth wrapped up the youth presentation portion of our showcase with a sampling of their year-end mini-workshops, where they led discussions with one another on mental health and racial identity.

The evening ended with a shout-out to our graduating seniors in the Class of 2021!

Woo-hoo, seniors! We will miss each and every one of you!

To wrap up, as Kelly, one of our youth MC and senior AALEADers so eloquently said during the event, “This Year-End Celebration [was] for all of us, because we all worked so hard this year to make AALEAD fun and collaborative… Asian American LEAD represents to me a strong, supportive community of daring, venturesome people who are passionate about learning more about their cultural identities, in order to better understand themselves, and those within their communities.”  

Thank you to our partners and everyone who came out to support our 2021 Showcase: Empower! We’ll see you soon for summer programming–– enrollment is open NOW until June 25th at tinyurl.com/enrollAALEADVASummer21. (You can also refer a youth at tinyurl.com/referayouthAALEADVA.) VA summer programs will run June 28th – July 23rd, and are open to rising 6th through graduating 12th graders. Join us for a fun mix of challenge days, hybrid (virtual + optional in-person) programming, and identity + wellness workshops and projects!

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