MIC CHECK VA: The Weekly Play By Play

By Vi Bui, Mentoring & Volunteer Programs Coordinator

Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

It feels like summer programs have just started but our Virginia youth have already closed out their program by giving their final MIC CHECK presentations. Here’s a recap of what they’ve been up to this summer!

Week 1

Our Youth Program Coordinators (high school leaders) headed off to Orientation Camp to learn about leadership, team-building, and workplace readiness.

YPCs waiting for the bus to arrive for orientation camp.

Week 2

This year our YPCs (Youth Program Coordinators) were tasked with facilitating icebreakers and team building activities for their younger peers, developing two workshops on mental health and food around the world, and leading their teams in creating their MIC CHECK projects. This week they worked together in pairs to develop their activities and workshops.

Our YPCs! (from left to right) Richard, Christina, Saif, Kevin, Eugene, Han, Long, Jordan, and Tony.

Week 3

This was our first week of programs with middle school and high school youth.They kicked off the summer by learning about the different ways to tell our stories, including Asian American poetry, visual art, and film. They began working on their MIC CHECK project by creating a magazine “cover story.” This week’s field trip was a park clean up project.

Local Poet Simone Jacobson facilitates a poetry workshop for the youth.

Middle school youth Nati reads the poem he wrote for everyone.

Program Coordinator Pallavi discusses Asian American Art with youth.

Youth put together an Asian American art & history timeline.

AALEAD Intern Maryam assists a group in creating their “cover story.”

Volunteer and film-maker Miles discusses how to make films.

Week 4

Monday, we were challenged with a power outage but managed to make do with what we had to keep our programs going. We did team building activities and adapted lessons so it can be facilitated even without computer access. Youth discussed Asian stereotypes in media and worked on planning their Street Food from Around the World lesson. The next day we ate delicious food from Vietnam, Korea, Italy, South Asia, and Peru. On Wednesday, one of our community college program’s volunteer coaches also came in to talk about peer counseling and career exploration. This week’s field trip was a joint regional field trip with Maryland and DC for the first ever AALEAD Amazing Race scavenger hunt in DC.

Team-builders in the dark during a power outage.

AALEAD Intern Maryam and YPC Han lead a workshop on Asian Americans in Media.

Youth write down their thoughts about Asian media representation.

YPC Saif and middle schooler Rania learn about the South Asian dish biryani.

YPCs Kevin and Long teach about Vietnamese banh mi.

YPC Jordan teaches about the cultural fusion of Chinese Peruvian cuisine.

Making our way to DC via metro.

DC, MD, and VA youth work together to solve clues for AALEAD Amazing Race.

All the participants of AALEAD Amazing Race.

Week 5

Youth learned about South Asian Dance from our new VA Middle School Programs Coordinator, Pallavi, and local chef Bobby Pradachith did a lesson and cooking demonstration on Lao fermented fish sauce. Teams finished up working on their MIC CHECK projects and gave their final presentations on the last day. Three teams made video projects with themes of cultural identity and home, and one team wrote a collection of poems on identity and stereotypes. These projects will be featured at Youth Summit this upcoming fall. This week’s field trip was a museum day in DC. VA Programs visited the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, as well as a stop by the Asian Pacific American (APA) Literature Festival at the National Portrait Gallery.

Chef Bobby preparing a traditional Lao fish sauce dish.

Youth trying out the dish.

Team presentation on the theme of “home.”

Team tells stories from old family photos.

Youth taking notes during museum visit.

Zine making at the Smithsonian APA Literature Festival.

But wait, there’s more! Although programs have ended we still have a lot to look forward to this week including our Virginia Programs closing celebration and a trip to Six Flags.

Virginia Summer Program youth and staff.

Have a great summer!

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