Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hong Qian Zhu, our very own SSP senior from Wilson SHS was interviewed for her school newspaper as she is the only student representative on LSRT, an advisory group for the school principal. She was the only student selected to represent her 1500 peers. Go Hong Qian!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Volunteering at DC Central Kitchen

On one of the coldest days in a long time, AALEAD students cared enough about helping out that they traveled the entire way from Maryland to downtown DC to help out at DC Central Kitchen, a non-profit aimed at, not only feeding the those less fortunate, but also training them with the valuable skills needed to start a career in food and help themselves.

For the shift, our students had bag after bag of carrots to tackle. Following a thorough introduction to the kitchen by Mason, a Central Kitchen staffer, students donned some stylish hairnets and aprons, pulled on some gloves and then teamed up. After that, Kitchen staff gave final instructions and students were turned loose (under supervision, of course), peelers in hand. Each team was responsible for sorting, cutting, peeling, chopping and washing their batch of carrots, after which the finished product was taken to another team who was in charge of preparing them to be cooked, then they were reloaded with another bin of carrots and the cycle started all over again.

By the end of the night, our students had prepared countless bins of carrots, which another team of students then cooked, strained, cooled and packed in vacuum sealed packages to be frozen. These packages can now be stored for up to a year and used on demand if there is an emergency need...

Many of the students have already expressed interested in going back, so don't be surprised if you see another post in the near future about DC Central Kitchen, Part II.

AALEAD Maryland answers the national call to service on MLK Jr. Day

Students from both the Middle School and High School After School Programs came together on Monday, January 19th to work with volunteers from the community and celebrate AALEAD Maryland's 1st annual MLK Jr. Day of Service. On the agenda for the day was assembling packages of health and sanitary items for homeless and low-income shelters in Silver Spring and DC, creating our own cards to be attached to donated books and toys for the children's wing of Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring as well as sorting donated magazines for the visitor waiting rooms at the hospital. Despite the snow and cold temperatures, a great core group of volunteers turned out and started working hard. By the end of the day, we had assembled or collected:

  • 22 hospital "get well soon" packages (each containing 1 children's book, 1 toy and 1 hand-made card)
in addition to:
  • 43 magazines and 6 extra books for the visitor waiting room

  • 118 "critical need" sanitary packages (soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc contained in a single sealed package)
  • 100s of bars of soap, bottles of shampoo and rolls of toilet paper

Thank you to all those that came to help...without you we could not have done this work! A special thanks to Minh Le, Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Americans for Obama, and Asian Pacific Bar Association of DC for all their assistance.

Monday, January 19, 2009

2009 MLK Day (DC) "Preparing Youth for the Future"

Question: How many people can fit in the AALEAD building?
Answer: A lot more than we thought would fit!

On Monday, January 19th, 2009 over 50 volunteers from across the country came to AALEAD to participate in the Day of Service. (We expected to have about 15 volunteers!)

After a brief set of introductions, volunteers broke up into small groups with our high school youth to discuss different perspectives for the future. Each small group then came up with an acronym to summarize what they had talked about. The acronyms varied with discussions ranging from Deadlines for College to Preparedness to Parties and Socialization! All in all, youth had a very enriching time gaining valuable advice from such a diverse group of people.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thursday, Jan 8, 2009 Making a Difference Celebration

The Maryland Family Strengthening Program hosted its second annual “Making a Difference” Celebration. The theme this year was “Keep the Positive Fire Going.” Sharon, the MD Family Program Manager (FPM), promoted positive parenting skills and the importance of positive communication between families and community during the celebration. Guests were treated to a very touching video of parents from the program giving encouragement to their children, followed by a children’s portion where the children gave words of appreciation to their parents!

"Making a Difference" Celebration 09

A lighting ceremony also involved representatives from schools, community based organizations, and parents in the celebration. The lighting ceremony represented the “Positive Fire” which can be transferred out to community.

Lighting Ceremony "Keep the Positive Fire Going"

The event took place on Jan. 8, 2009 from 6pm to 8pm and over 65 guests attended the celebration! Along with the 19 families that attended, we had numerous special guests including: Principal from Parkland Middle School, Career Counselor from Einstein High School, and 5 representatives from community organizations (AAHI, ESOL Parent Coordinators (MCPS), APALRC, Cross Cultural Infotech, MVMA.) It was a great opportunity to celebrate the successes of our families together.

"Making a Difference" Celebration 09

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Day of Service

As you may know, President-elect Obama has dedicated January 19th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, as a national day of service and AALEAD has answered his call by working with several local organizations to bring together a service event to help the community.

Students, volunteers and staff will be working together to create packages of sanitary and health care items for local homeless shelters as well as cards and care packages for patients and their families. We are now asking the community to help us gather the necessary items, so that we can do all the assembly and leg work needed to get these items to those who need them most.

For the homeless shelter packages we are in need of the following:
  • toothbrushes
  • toothbrush covers
  • soap
  • shampoo
  • razors
  • Heat Relief Tablets
  • washcloths
  • Alcohol Prep Pads
  • Neosporin
  • combs
  • baby/hand wipes

(individual "hotel sized" items are preferred, but all sizes, as well as related items, not listed above, will be accepted)

For the hospital packages we are in need of the following:
  • old magazines or books for patients and families to read (less than one year old and gently used, for both children and adults)
  • simple games or toys for young patients to use while at the hospital (no stuffed animals due to allergy concerns)

Please help if you are able!! If you have any of these items lying around your house or you'd like to order new ones and have them shipped to our office, we'd love to make use of your kind donation.

Any items to be donated can be dropped off at the AALEAD office, 11141 Georgia Avenue, Suite 515; Wheaton MD, 20902. We may also be able to arrange for the items to picked up, please contact us if you would like to inquire about this possibility.

Contact Jonathan Henry for more information
(301) 942-9333

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Maryland Holiday Party

On December 12th, 2008, Maryland had its first annual Holiday Party at the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity. The event was a huge success, as all who attended got a full night of food and holiday cheer. Over the course of the evening, students, volunteers, mentors and staff all came together to design Holiday cards, decorate ornaments, eat a huge meal and discuss the year that was coming to a close, as well as the one fast approaching.

Congratulations are in order for Halie Francisco & Jean Mendoza (Einstein HS), Michelle Andrada (Loiederman MS) & Maireclaire Alde (Einstein HS) and Beverly Wu (Loiederman MS), who won 1st 2nd, and 3rd place in AALEAD's First Annual Holiday Card contest. Our staff selected these three cards as the winners and then distributed copies to school staff and others during the holiday
season. Congratulations

AALEAD would like to send a special thanks to the Asian Pacific Bar Association of DC and Marita EtcubaƱez for the incredible generosity and kindness they displayed by donating a book for every student who attended the MD Holiday Party. Thank you so much!

Thank you also to Delegate Susan Lee and Judge Chung K. Pak who attended our event and share their unique perspectives on the holidays and life in general with the crowd. The students responded well to everything that Delegate Lee and Judge Pak had to say and took away a lot of valuable lessons about what it takes to be successful.