Asian American OST Programs Make Impact in Their Communities
May 17, 2021
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, an opportunity to bring awareness to the long history of Asian American and Pacific Islander contributions to our country. This month is also a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the positive contributions two Asian American out-of-school time programs are making to their communities.
Through our partnership with Boston After School & Beyond and our evaluation work of the Boston After School & Beyond School Year Network, we learned about Asian Community Development Corporation’s Asian Voices of Organized Youth Community Empowerment (A-VOYCE) program and YouLead, a program at Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center's Youth Center. Both programs, serving Asian American and Asian immigrant high school-aged youth in the Greater Boston area, offer leadership development opportunities through a focus on community and active citizenship. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to share their stories.
A-VOYCE brings youth together to use their voices in effecting positive change in the community through the power of dialogue, storytelling and placemaking. The year-round program consists of a comprehensive curriculum of community development and cultural identity. This year’s “Paintbox Project” was envisioned by the youth as part of an overall revitalization and beautification project. They selected the northern gateway to Boston’s Chinatown, Phillips Square, as a place for intergenerational bonding by using art to highlight the culture and history. Working with local artists and the community, two power boxes will be painted with designs to represent Chinatown through the themes of belonging, home and family, and the progression and development of Chinatown from the past to the present.
The YouLead program supports incremental leadership development through youth-led community projects centered around three core values: care for self, care for others, and care for community. This year, the youth have chosen to host a virtual showcase with the theme “Mental Health on a Nature Walk” to introspectively address their personal and social well-being through creative means. Their event, scheduled for later this month, includes a gallery featuring local youth artists presenting their works of art (performances and fine arts), and an interactive workshop designed by the YouLead team to bring greater awareness to the topic of mental health that includes conversation starters for a dialogue with parents and guardians. While the event is targeted at youth between grade 9 and freshman year of college, they welcome parents of youth in the age range to attend the gallery.
We're proud to support these programs and the youth they serve. Do you know of a program working on an interesting project for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month? Let us know and we'll highlight it on social media!