Thursday, February 18, 2010

Congratulations to Matt Nguyen, for being selected as Posse Scholar!

Matt Nguyen (middle) celebrates his achievement
with AALEAD as Posse Scholar.

Matt has been involved in AALEAD programs for over 10 years, particulary the Mentoring Program. Throughout these years, we have observed his persistence, hard work, and positive attitude. From all of us at AALEAD, we are proud of you, Matt! We know you will go on to do good things!

Here are Matt's own words on the Posse Scholarship and how AALEAD prepared him for this experience:

"My name is Matt Nguyen and also known as Nam. I’m 18 years old, in the 12th grade at McKinley Technology HS.

I have been in AALEAD for about 12 years now. I have always been in the mentoring program; I was paired with 4 mentors in the 12 years. I was in the after-school and summer program for many years. It guided me through childhood and rocky teenage years to this point-my acceptance as a Posse Scholar at Lafayette College.

The Posse Foundation provides leadership and merit based scholarship to exceptional students of urban areas who has the potential to success in highly selective colleges/Universities. The foundation supports all its scholars with pre-collegiate training, 4 year full tuition scholarship, mentorship, and etc .

What I loved about Posse was that it provides so much support which I think is critical to my success in college and life. Posse was my number one college option. I had to endure an intricate selection process. The first round was a large group interview. For the first round, I had to work in a group to built things, talk in groups to share ideas and opinions, create a skit and etc. I thought it was a really weird interview and it caught me off guard because I was excepting to talk front of some interviewers and talk them why I should be a posse scholar. Later, I did do the traditional interview in the second round. I was confident answering the questions asked which included, how am I a leader, which major I would pursuit in college, etc. In the third and last round I was engaged in an interactive group interview. The staffs of Lafayette College were there to observe and meet me and the other candidates. Posse DC has six possible colleges/ Universities to attend with the scholarship. They are Sewanee: The University of the South, Wisconsin-Madison, Grinnell College, Bucknell University, Pepperdine University, and Lafayette College. I was so pleased to gotten paired with Lafayette because it was a small liberal art school and close to home. I was notified about my acceptance in Lafayette and as a posse scholar the night of the interview December 16TH. I was so happy.

AALEAD prepared me to be a Posse Scholar. I was assisted in my academic work by all my mentors. I gained valuable communication skills and the willingness to work in groups at AALEAD. I had several chances to testify in the city council on behalf of AALEAD which helped me on my communication skills. I was involved in projects such as a car wash fundraiser in which I took a leadership role. I got SAT practice at AALEAD. As a kid, the idea to attend college was instilled in my mind. I believe I got this idea mainly because of AALEAD. I believe the guidance and nurturing I received at AALEAD made me who I am and afforded me the privilege to be a posse scholar.

I am currently doing pre-colligate training with my posse before we transition into our freshmen year at Lafayette College. I can’t wait to experience college life."

- Matt Nguyen

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kids for Kids Project 2

AALEAD Bancroft students raised fund for the Typhoon victims in the Philippines

Last Summer 2008 our AALEAD Bancroft students had a fund raising event called “Kids for Kids project” to raised money to support the poorest of the poor children in the Philippines to go to school. Our students were able to raise almost $200 to support Filipino students to school. Our staff & students were encouraged that even in a small way they were able to help those less fortunate children in the Philippines.

When Typhoon Ketsana , also known as Ondoy, hit the Philippines, one report described it as the following: “On September 26, 2009, Typhoon Ondoy brought a month's worth of rainfall to Metro Manila and nearby areas in just a few hours, causing severe flooding which resulted in the loss of many lives and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. 8 days later, Typhoon Pepeng struck the northern regions causing more damage.”

We learned from the organization that we supported that many of the students whom we supported were also affected by the typhoon. Our students & staff had a meeting on what can we do to help these poor communities again.
Even with the limited resources of low income families; we all agreed that if we are determined to help others with even the little we have , we will never know what impact that may result.

So we started our “Pennies for the Philippines” project, using an old water gallon as our community bank. Our students began bringing their pennies and even asking friends and parents for their pennies to contribute. This project ran for one month of carefully saving these precious pennies. After counting them, our students were able to raise $105 in just one month! With this small fund, we provided ten families affected by the typhoon wonderful Christmas gifts of much needed groceries.

Here is what the Founder of the organization sent our students and staff:

Staff & Students
Bancroft Elementary School,
Dear Friends,
I am writing to you on behalf of Dawn for the Poor to thank you for your generous participation in “Pennies for the Philippines” for our flood relief program for the families in Marilao, just north of Manila, Philippines, who lost so much during the devastating typhoon and floods in their area.
My wife and I were able to visit Marilao after the typhoon to give out some relief goods and encouragement to the families there. Some of the families who were most impacted by the floods had nothing to look forward to at Christmas time. But through your kindness and generosity some of our workers in Marilao were able to give them some funds for food and gifts for Christmas.
Thank you for making their Christmas a memorable one!
We are so encouraged by your love and concern for the poor and the suffering.
God bless you all.

Patrick Hobbs
Patrick Hobbs
International Adviser
Dawn for the Poor

Friday, February 05, 2010

Do you know what Capoeira is?

CAPOEIRA is Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music, and dance. AALEAD Girls program just had a workshop on "CAPOEIRA- incorporating self-defense maneuvers” on February 4th 2010.

Thanks to Rebecca and Jennifer for facilitating the wonderful workshop for the girls, where they learnt several basic Capoeira moves, including Ginga (the basic step involving stepping back and forth rhythmically), Cocorinha (a low crouching evasive move), Queda de Rins (a low defensive move where you balance your body on your elbow and head), Meia Lua De Frente (meaning "half moon from front", a powerful kick with a step forward from the ginga position), and Bencao (or "Blessing", a really powerful kick which can be used to kick the opponent's stomach).

It was great to see girl’s excitement and their active participation while practicing different moves. At the end, all of them performed the steps that they learnt in front of the whole group.

Thursday, February 04, 2010


At AALEAD Loiederman, the students were able to create some amazing sushi thanks to our very own AALEAD sushi chef Alex Cena. The students learned about the history of sushi and the types of sushi.

It was a very fun hands-on experience, and many students were able to eat their own creations, while many were able to be courageous and snack on some more unusual ones like salmon with spicy chipotle mayo.
Here are what some students said about the event:

"It was my first time trying it...I was scared, but it was pretty good" - J 8th grade

"I ate all of mine, and even shared some with my parents" - A 7th grade

Thanks to Alex and also Ms. Simpson for getting the cafeteria for us.

Blair Chefs in the Making

Last week at Blair H.S. the students developed their Asian cooking prowess by making dumplings and bubble tea!

For the dumplings, they took some scallions, soy sauce, garlic powder, ground meat, and onions, and mixed it all up. After putting a little bit in a dumpling skin and wrapping it together, voila - they'd made pork and beef dumplings!

We got to eat them next time - thanks Don for cooking them!

On Thursday, Karen came in (again!) and taught us all about the Taiwanese origin of bubble tea. With a little bit of regular lipton tea, low-fat creamer, and a spoonful of tapioca pearls, the Blair students made their own bubble tea!

Thanks so much for coming in, Karen!

Monday, February 01, 2010

AALEAD Girls Day Out to Smithsonian freer Gallery in DC!

As planned, AALEAD Girls leadership Program went on a field trip to Smithsonian freer Gallery of Art on January 30th (Saturday) in DC.

This was an effort to better understand on how we can build bridges between the journey to explore self, world and universal peace by using the art of freer collection, where students listened to the Young women ages 12-19 reading their original poetry in the galleries inspired by the freer collection, tours of the Japanese, Indian subcontinent Art and tea collection.

Though due to snow shower, just few students turned up but it was good to have staff member and two volunteers joining us. It was certainly a good trip and everyone enjoyed the game, poetry, playing in snow and hot Chocolate. Below are some pictures from the trip , ENJOY!

Young women presenting on "Wade in the water" What if it snows, we can still ENJOY!

My feet are cold now! Who can copy the statue better Girls marching towards the Bus stop

Enjoying poerty at the Gallery Playing“would you rather” before the field trip