15 Great Asian
15 GREAT ASIAN AMERICAN CAUSES13. The Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)
Sending Low-Income Asian American Kids to College
Tears stream down the faces of parents watching their kids receive high school diplomas. For the majority of Asian American parents, they're tears of pride and joy. For recent immigrants who can't afford to send their kids to college, they can be tears of regret. Ensuring that tearful moment will mark joyful commencements into higher education rather than bittersweet farewells to education for thousands of young Asian and Pacific Islander Americans is the aim with which Washing D.C.-based APIASF was recently established.
APIASF recognizes that one of eight Asian Americans and one out of six Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders live below the official poverty line, leaving tens of thousands of Asian youth without meaningful opportunity for higher education. To help thousands of them go to college, it has set a goal of securing $3 million of contributions by the start of 2005.
APIASF is the first scholarship foundation of its kind and was founded with the help of the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. It has already garnered the support of Governor Gary Locke and the Coca-Cola Company, among other distinguished names. APIASF will focus its efforts in communities with high concentrations of Asians like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. It's board of between 11 and 25 seats will represent each community. For more information or to make contributions, visit http://apiasf.org.
14. Asian Family Center (AFC)
Integrating Asian Families into the Portland Community
Asian teens play basketball as their coaches, members of the Portland Police Bureau, shout encouragement. The annual Asian Basketball Camp attracts over 100 participants per day. It's one of several programs conducted on the AFC's 4,000-square foot Portland facility to help Asian teens feel more secure in their new environment by developing positve interaction with the Portland Police Bureau. Another popular activity is weekly field trips. Socializing with fellow Asians helps teens build self-esteem and confidence.
Another AFC objective is to build strong family bonds through community activities. Even established Asian Americans can feel the sting of discrimination and isolation. Recent immigrants are subjected to far more intense psychological and physical stresses. AFC-sponsored activities give parents and kids opportunities to interact in an environment free from those stresses in which everyone performs to their full social potential. The reward is greater self-esteem and better adjustment.
AFC is one of the major programs within the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), an umbrella organization that aims to help assimilate immigrant families into American society. AFC specifically targets pan-Asian families in the hopes of making their lives in America more connected and comfortable.
AFC was founded in November of 1994. Its 15-member board currently represents the Chinese, Vietnamese, Corean (Korea), Japanese, Filipino, Afghan, Mien and Laotian communities. Visit http://irco.org for information or to contribute.
15. Asian Community Mental Health Services (ACMHS)
Helping the Mentally Disabled Maximize Their Potential
The artwork lining the halls of the Oakland Art Center are intricate in design and stunning in technique. They were created by the patients of ACMHS, and can be purchased as either postcards or framed pictures on the ACMHS website (http://acmhs.org).
To help the mentally disabled find inspiration and develop talent, the Oakland Art Center offers young patients the opportunity to explore their creative abilities on a weekly basis. Art is more than a source of self-esteem and a sense of achievement; it lets them to take steps toward independence.
ACMHS medical programs assess the patient's condition to help their families better understand and communicate with them. The organization also assesses and treats the most debilitating problems of youth: depression, social anxiety, behavioral problems, and poor academic performance. ACMHS works on-site at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as in homes, to help kids overcome obstalces to realizing their potentials.
Oakland-based ACMHS serves over 3,000 Asian immigrants and refugees each year. ACMHS patients range in age from young children to the elderly. Most come from families living below the poverty level. To work in all sectors of the Asian community, ACMHS staff work in twelve differnet languages including Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Corean (Korean).
ACMHS was founded in 1974 to provide personalized care to help Asians lead their lives to their fullest potential. ACMHS works in conjunction with every major service provider in the Oakland community to maximize its reach. To donate to ACMHS, refer to http://acmhs.org.