Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Good Life…Eating Smart (Week 4)

By Danny Young

Wednesday, July 22nd around 35 high schooler's went out to Dave and Buster's for our weekly field trip! We truly enjoyed ourselves: playing games, eating, winning prizes…The best part was we all chipped in to get really great prizes – like when we pooled our tickets together so Magy could get HUGE stuffed animals. But it wasn't all just play, during Eating Smart Week, we also spent some time talking about snacks that are healthy: hummus, guacamole, and banana/peanut butter wraps (and then we made them!). Of course we also had an IRON CHEF competition, where we all split into two teams. The competition was intense – we were judged on creativity, presentation, and flavor. Zefanya and her team pulled together the winning dishes!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Good Life Summer Program…Thinking Smart

By Danny Young

The Good Life Summer Program started on June 29th and every week, our DC high school program students have been working on different areas of health and wellness. Tuesday July 21, 2009, was very exciting for our high school students at AALEAD. They practiced yoga for the first time, with special yoga instructor, Kira.
fter 15 min in to the session the instructor told them to lay down and relax and do different movements...she said you might fall asleep. As you can see she was right! It was surprising how well yoga worked on the students.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Update for the Maryland "Discovery Portal" Summer Program

We are well into our summer program now and are halfway done with many of the projects we had started.

Part of the program was learning how to make a video game and play it online. Two volunteers come in regularly to teach the students the ropes to video game making.

When we're not creating video games, or making art, or even researching for our mini-project, we are able to enjoy the beautiful weather Maryland has to offer!
Outdoor games are a fun way to release energy and get some good ol' sun!

China Town Elementary School Summer Program

The summer program for the China Town elementary school students is going well. There were a variety of activities that they children learned about and got to participate in.

Reading time!

Students were also able to learn and practice traditional calligraphy. Using real brushes and ink pads, we realized that that actual process of writing was a form of art before computers!

And to document the program's activities was Ryan Tse. He came in and taught the students the basic functions of a professional camera and continued to take videos for a documentary. He also took on a high school assistant, Henry, to teach, more in depth, what it takes to make a documentary.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Mai Abdo speaks to AALEAD youth at Eden Center

Thanks to one of our energetic Board members, Ban Tran, students were invited to Eden Center to see the Smithsonian Exhibit there and also hear Mai Abdo's personal story.

Students view the "Exit Saigon, Enter Little Saigon" exhibit and also watched a short video clip about who Vietnamese Americans are today.

Ban Tran and Mai Abdo, both Vietnamese refugees, share about their experiences being moved from Vietnam to Guam and ultimately to the United States. Ban stressed the importance of always trying your best, telling the students "where there is a will, there's a way." Mai spoke about her experiences leaving Vietnam as a child, and told the students to "be a sponge and absorb everything you can now!"

After wrapping up the program, students headed to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant to enjoy a hearty lunch!

Some students share their reactions to their experience:
"Hey Mai! I just want to tell you that I really appreciate and enjoyed your life story presentation. It’s motivating me to be better in the things I do, and to appreciate my parents, too for their sacrifices. I most definitely didn’t have the same experience as you did. But, my parents and my family left a lot behind and we’re going through an immigration process right now. Hopefully, it will all turn out successfully. Anyway, thanks for giving us your time and it was nice meeting you!"
"I appreciate you taking your time out to speak with us. I now look at the Vietnamese community differently."
"Thank you for taking out time in your busy schedule to come talk to us. I really appreciate your story, which I can relate to."
"Your story was very inspirational. It will inspire me to do better in life."

Monday, July 13, 2009

AALEAD's Maryland 'Discovery Portal' Summer Program kicks off

Students in the Maryland Middle School program, as well as other from schools we haven't yet begun to serve, begain their summer program at the Wheaton Community Recreation Center last week. This year's program centers on several on-going projects which include focus on space exploration, computer program and art.

The main focus of our summer program continues to be "Health and Wellness", so student get ample opportunities for outside exercise and we've schedule guest speakers to talk about nutrition and fitness.

After a few team building exercises where we got a chance to meet one another, We've already begun several cooperative programs with Pyramid Atlantic and VisArts that we're hoping the youth in the program will be very engaged with. Check back often for more updates!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

AALEAD High School Camping Trip!

On June 23rd, more than 30 of our DC and Maryland High school students embarked on a 3 day, 2 night trip in the woods of Western Maryland. Obstacle courses, night walks, and sleeping quietly were some of the challenges that our students overcame. We all returned safe and sound and ready for showers.

Congratulations on a great 2008-2009 school year! Lets have an awesome summer everyone!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Bancroft Elementary Summer Program

It was just a typical Monday afternoon at our Bancroft Elementary Summer Program. This year, we are serving over 50 students at this site and the program runs every day from 1230-6pm. We are especially lucky to have a diverse and talented staff who make up a great team! One teacher loves the outdoors, another used to work with youth doing playwriting, another is a special education teacher... We also have TAs who have worked with our students before and have developed special relationships with them. I had a chance to observe the last hour of programs, and here is what I found!

Some students were engaged in Yoga class... others were doing role playing (one trying to build an imaginary wall and the other trying to get through it!)... and others were outside playing Asian hopscotch! What fun!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

AALEAD Trip to the Baltimore Aquarium

On Saturday, June 20 a group of AALEAD mentors, mentees and some of our High School youth enjoyed a day visiting the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. The group jumped on a nice air conditioned school bus and had a great time viewing exotic fish, sharks, dolphins and some tropical wild life. Everyone enjoyed themselves and some were exhausted from the excitement and walking. Thank you everyone for coming!