New Ways of Making Change

By Vi Bui, Mentoring & DC Programs Manager

Dear AALEAD Community,

It has truly been an amazing and transformative three years together.

When I started working at AALEAD in 2017, to be honest, I was quite lost. However, I have really come to believe that youth work is healing work.

That is because the young people remind me of my younger self. Although we may have come from different backgrounds, I saw a little bit of me inside each of them and came to understand myself better.

When I practiced how to be kind and encouraging to youth, I practiced how to be kind and encouraging to myself.

When I showed mentors how to communicate more effectively, I showed myself how to communicate more effectively.

When I learned how to build relationships with their parents, I learned how to build relationships with my own parents.

During my time in AALEAD I found my passion for healing and mental health. It has never been more apparent to me how much hurt there is in the world. I found my purpose through youth work in healing.

As we found ourselves in a global pandemic and a renewed crisis of racial justice in America, I wondered if this was going to be the right decision for me to transition. But we cannot let fear of the unknown inhibit us from moving toward our purpose. In fact, that fear was the reason why I needed to take the risk. Nelson Mandela said, “Courage [is] not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

As I transition from my work at AALEAD I will be dedicating more time in my studies to become a social worker and therapist, and building networks of movement leaders, organizers, and healers. The social justice work that I came to AALEAD to do is far from being done, and this is a lifelong commitment to undoing injustice in our communities. I wish AALEAD all the best in its future and send well wishes to all our youth and families during this trying time.

Peace and solidarity,

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