Ignite your Passions

By: Aaron Orpilla, DC Middle and High School Program Coordinator

Photos courtesy of AALEAD Staff

On May 23rd, 2019, DC AALEAD programs held our first annual Ignite Showcase at Bancroft Elementary School. The Ignite Showcase is an opportunity for youth to present, what they’ve learned and experienced this past year and sharing it with the community.

Our DC Elementary, Middle and High School programming were able to create what they have learned through different art forms: Visual arts (Self-portraits and Story books) & Performance art (Spoken word and Dance).

Art Exhibition Highlights

Hopes and Dreams Portraits – Elementary School Program

Elementary school (ES) youth created self-portraits of their hopes and dreams for themselves, their community, their family and the world.  

Story books – High School Program

High school (HS) youth had the opportunity to create a Children’s storybook and read it at our Elementary School Program earlier during the school year. Their goal for this project was to address different issues that are affecting themselves as Asian American youth, giving our ES youth hope to take action and reflect on these issues.

Passion Poster – Elementary School Program

Elementary School youth from Bancroft and our friends from Thomson Elementary School shared their passions on this passion poster. What are you passionate about?

Program Showcase Highlights

AALEAD Staff Intro Song

Charles Kuo, DC Programs Manager, Aaron Orpilla, DC Middle & High School Program Coordinator, and Saadia Ahmad, DC Elementary School Program Coordinator, set the tone of the ignite showcase welcoming the community with their own talents by performing the widely beloved song Baby Shark. And the audience cannot help but dance along!

Blazing Stars: Ignite your Passions Song!

Ms. Nadia, AALEAD DC ES teacher and the Blazing Stars (the DC ES Program youth in the Kindergarten and 1st-grade cohort) composed and written a song about what ignites them and their passions!

Elementary School Youth Council: Our Stories: Podcast

As the closing project for the school year, our 4th-grade youth council decided to create their own podcast, where they shared their personal stories that have impacted them and their families to be who they are today. Check out the behind-the-scenes of their production and have a listen to the Our Stories Podcast!

High School: Balagtasan Spoken Word

Our High School Program created a Spoken Word: balagtasan which means “debate” in Filipino culture. This spoken word weaves together views of a protagonist and antagonist. The created pieces centered their experiences of their identity of being Asian American and the oppression that they face at school and within their community.

High School Youth Council: Youth Participatory Action Research Project

AALEAD DC MS & HS Youth Council has been rigorously working on their Youth Participatory Action Research Project(YPAR). YPAR “provides young people opportunities to study social problems affecting their lives and then determine actions to rectify these problems”(Dimitriadis, 2008). A topic that really resonated with the youth and the community of Asian Americans was addressing the issues of Gentrification in Chinatown. Take a look at what our Youth Council proposes to be action steps in solidarity with the residents of Chinatown

Class of 2019 Graduation: Stoling Ceremony

To celebrate our Middle and High School youth moving on to their future endeavors, we invited all of our graduating youth who have been in our programs since they were in Elementary school to come to participate in our Stoling Ceremony. Our Middle School graduates received an orange and white cord while our High School youth received orange stoles. Congratulations, class of 2019!

Middle School: Flag Presentation

This year was the first large cohort of Middle School youth in our DC Programs, and the youth created a community flag to be a reflection of what the middle school cohort has experienced this year. The flag was distributed to all the audience as the youth took on the stage to give a presentation on what their favorite symbol/moment on this community flag

AALEAD DC Showcase: Ignite is an opportunity for youth to present, what they’ve experienced this past year. Through different arts, community members were able to witness how youth have applied what they’ve learned and the impact that they’ve cultivated. Our first showcase was an amazing achievement and provided community members the chance to see our youth in action! Community members got to see AALEAD youth as empowered and confident leaders who can make a difference and AALEAD Youth got to present what they were passionate about and what they hope for their futures.

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