Virtual Platforms for Real Impacts: AALEAD Programs in 2020-2021

By Ari Pak, Programs Director
Photos & Media Courtesy of AALEAD Staff

I am excited to welcome AALEAD youth, staff, and community members back to another program year. In the past seven months, so much has transpired in the world around us and at Asian American LEAD: an ongoing health pandemic and continued impacts on underserved communities; amplified demands for racial justice in the United States; virtual learning and the educational impacts of access, to name a few. We at AALEAD step into the new school and program year with a renewed commitment to providing youth with meaningful experiences to develop positive self-identity and mental wellness, leadership skills and experiences, and pathways to youth-directed academic achievement. We step up to the challenges presented this year, and are ready to find and build opportunities together.

AALEAD transitioned programs to virtual platforms in March 2020 after the declaration of a global pandemic due to the novel coronavirus. Usually marked by large celebrations and events, Spring and Summer ALAEAD Programs were different than we had ever seen. AALEAD Staff learned how to build virtual programs and created meaningful leadership opportunities in the virtual space. Staff transformed an experience of distance and separation into one of connection, community impact, continuous support, and growth for AALEAD youth in Spring and Summer programs. More on that next week in the FY20 AALEAD Programs Recap blog post!

For now, I want to share the virtual program opportunities available to middle and high school youth this fall. Understanding that virtual learning has created a renewed need for academic support and meaningful leadership and identity development opportunities, AALEAD programs will offer multiple ways for youth to join programs which meet their specific needs. AALEAD Program Staff have worked tirelessly to connect with and listen to youth about what will be most critical to their success this Fall. Building from these youth needs, AALEAD staff have built out the below program opportunities. We look forward to seeing you in programs!


Fill out an application to gain access to invaluable educational, leadership, and identity development opportunities! Enrollment is rolling and open now!
Fall 2020 programs occur September 2020 – December 2020

DC Programs

Middle School Application:

High School Application:

Maryland Programs

Middle School Application:

High School Application:

Virginia Programs

Middle School Application:

High School Application:


  • Youth Engagement and Leadership Program! (YELP!): Weekly workshops around Educational Empowerment, Leadership, and Identity Development focused around a culminating project and applicable skills!  
  • Program Allies Peer Mentorship: Peer mentors support mentees by meeting academic goals, bridging cultures, promoting self-fulfillment, and developing healthy self-concept. Middle school youth will be paired with a high school youth peer mentor to collaborate toward academic success through facilitated peer mentoring activities, goal setting and support, and homework help. High school mentors gain leadership coaching, mentoring, life skill development training, and SSL hours! 
  • Youth Council: Youth leaders represent their program peers in programming decisions, develop program workshops and opportunities, and engage in community-action projects to take their leadership experiences to the next level.


  • MS – Middle School transition support: Grade-level individual and small-group support for middle school youth. Advising and support on transitioning into middle school, preparing for the expectations of next year, and guidance through the high school transition process. 
  • MS & HS – Homework Help & Study Hall: Bi-weekly opportunities for youth to complete school assignments and get support on challenge areas. 
  • HS – College Access Program: High school seniors receive college admissions advising, college transition support, career preparedness support, and access to special opportunities to meet college professors and students to learn firsthand about the college experience. High school juniors receive support beginning the college process. 
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