Monday, September 28, 2009

DC and Maryland Secondary School Lock In, Fall 2009!

On September 25th and 26th, AALEAD had its fall SSP Lock In. 42 students from both the Maryland and DC area came together for a night of fun, entertainment, and team building.
To kick of the this years Fall 09-10 program we gathered students to participate in an overnight program at the AALEAD Center. This year's theme "Cultural
Exploration" aims to educate the students about the different cultures that surround them.

Throughout the evening, students participated in icebreakers and discussion on communication. We later gathered for a series of competitive events and pizza.
This year's Lock In was a great way for students to meet and bond with each other. We look forward to the upcoming year and to many more enjoyable events.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

AALEAD student Tammy Nguyen featured on the cover of Children's Health with First Lady Michelle Obama!

Photo courtesy of Children's Health magazine

Our very own Tammy Nguyen(furthest left) has been making some very special friends lately.

As a part of her school's Green Thumb group this past year, Tammy not only was busy planting vegetables at her school but also at the White House's new garden with none other than First Lady Michelle Obama. Both initiatives were created to learn more about the environment and make better food choices. The new garden at the White House opened on March 20 of this year. Since then, Tammy and her classmates have been back to the White House no less than 4 times to work on the project. Most recently, the First Lady visited Bancroft to speak on the importance of making healthy food decisions. A select group of students, including Tammy, read essays on their experiences at the White House, working with Mrs. Obama. Check out Tammy's essay below, followed by some photos from the visit:

"I want to thank the First Lady so much. We had an idea that we might exchange a few recipes that our parents and teachers have with some you use in the White House...unless that is TOP SECRET, of course! My mother is very happy to see me choosing to eat more fresh vegetables now. Mom is an excellent cook, and she uses a lot of carrots. I even eat them straight out of the ground, after a good washing, that is. I researched the carrot and learned that carrots, like people, have a history. The carrot's begins in Eastern Asia near Afghanistan thousands of years ago. They have migrated all over the world, changing their color from purple to orange. When you pull a carrot and eat it fresh you can't help but feel good as you crunch and munch it. It even feels like it cleans your teeth. Here at Bancroft, we are big fans of carrots! We are also big fans of the First Lady! When I describe her to all of my friends who ask, I tell them that she is tall, beautiful, and always smiling."

Remarks on the visit by the First Lady can be found here.

Introducing...drumroll please....Edison Park

[That's me in the AALEAD shirt]

Let me start off by telling a little about me. Born in Honolulu Hawaii surfed the waves to Seattle and went to school at the University of Washington where I majored in Spanish Language and Literature (Go Huskies!). Been living in DC now for about 9 months and probably one of the best cities I have every lived in!
I first got here to work at Polaris Project (check them out and after 5 months of that internships, I was fortunate to work at AALEAD. I love people watching at parks, eating at buffets (the weirder the better), speaking languages (the weirder the better as well), watching documentaries, and reading biographies.
It's been a month now, and I got to meet some cool cats from SSP program, and the Maryland Middle School program. The first week of the middle school program has started and I'm glad that I can finally meet the students. It is going to be a challenging and busy year. I hope I can be effective and fun at the same time.
Please make sure to say hi to me when you do see me, I would love to meet you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Another Fun Kickball Event

Wow, two posts in one day! We had a terrific last couple days, both inside and out. Saturday continued the celebration of the kickoff of our fall events, when we played a highly competitive game of kickball with our friends at NAAAP (National Association of Asian American Professionals, DC Chapter). The day turned out to be one of our largest gatherings recently, where over 50 staff, youth, mentors, and NAAAP members took some time to eat pizza and play.

We could not have asked for a nicer day, with the temperature being mild and the sky, sunny. Everyone was in good spirits and enjoyed the game, but as always, there can only be one winner, and the final score was 14-15.

Thanks to everyone who came out and made the day the success that it was! We look forward to seeing NAAAP again in the future, and stay tuned for Taste of Georgetown, an afternoon of food tastings that we have planned for our Mentors and Mentees.


Cultural Exploration...what is it?

This is what the AALEAD Program Staff explored on Friday, September 18, 2009. At our Fall Kick-off, each programs staff came up with an activity, game, or presentation that showcased what Cultural Exploration meant for them! This is our theme for this fall.
What a fun afternoon it was! Some of the highlights included:

· Quick facts about working with Asian American youth and families
· Briefing on working with Immigrant Youth

· A live demonstration of how to make bubble tea

· Introducing the idea of an AALEAD youth and family cookbook
· An interactive web demonstration of fun games
· A collaborative idea with another organization framing a neat poetry/writing exercise
· A video on Pakistan

· A mix and mingle activity on the history of the Philippines
· An arts and crafts lesson on making a Chinese Lantern

· Learning to work with and observe different cultures via the “NUNOKNUS” activity

We also learned that culture is not defined by ethnicity, holidays, or foods--but instead, encompasses having an open perspective on viewing life. Our families, our communities, our activities and experiences... all of these contribute to what makes "culture" for each of us. Our job at AALEAD will be to provide meaningful experiences so that each student can feel proud of not only sharing their own culture, but also how others view things as well!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Good Life Summer Blowout!

For one night, the young men and women of DC's AALEAD Good Life Summer Program dressed up and "got down" for a night of awards and dancing. Students celebrated the end of a successful program filled with podcasts, newsletters, and fun trips. Old and new friends were able to enjoy good music, good food, and great company.

Congradulations AALEADers! Let's have a great school year!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

AALEAD's 2009 Staff Retreat

Tuesday, August 25th, and Wednesday the 26th, AALEAD staff participated in our annual Staff Retreat in DC. Throughout the course of our Staff Retreat, all staff members had an opportunity to work on team building, be a part of the AALEAD strategic road map and to get to know one another. Also included in the retreat was the opportunity to hear from other area non-profits about how to run a "best-practice" organization.

The chance to work together and help define the direction of AALEAD was a great opportunity for the staff and the decisions made at this year's staff retreat will guide as as we move into Fiscal Year 2010. Be sure to keep checking the blog for updates on our progress!

A special thanks to The Case Foundation for allowing us to use their facilities for our meeting.

Summer Kickball Event

On Saturday, August 8, 2009, the Maryland and DC Mentoring Programs came together at Wheaton Regional Park for a fun afternoon of pizza and kickball. Luckily, the heat wasn't too exhausting and we played a great game, MD versus DC style. 2 hours after starting (with multiple drink and pizza breaks scattered throughout), the DC team walked off the field as victors, the final score being 15-11.

In addition to kickball, we also played around on the slides and swings, as well as threw some hoops. The park is a great place for events due to the variety of activities for all who come, not to mention the shelter for any kind of weather. We're looking forward to holding another kickball game very soon, where, perhaps, MD will make its comeback. Stay tuned for more information!