October 2016 Newsletter

October 2016
We hope that your fall is off to a good start. We are excited to share updates on VietAID’s programs, as well as news about VietAID’s staff. More information, including multiple job openings, below!
ban-tin-10-2016VietAID Program Updates

Au Co Pre-School

June 2016 Au Co Pre-School Graduation
June 2016 Au Co Pre-School Graduation

VietAID’s Au Co Pre-School had a fun graduation ceremony in June 2016 as we bid farewell (for now!) to the 18 students graduating out of our pre-school program. All 18 students were well prepared to start in the Boston Public Schools this fall. Au Co Pre-School ran its programs as usual during the summer months, with a continued focus on the physical, mental, social, and academic enrichment of our young students. We are also excited to share that during VietAID’s Scholarly Program for Youth (VSPY) summer program for children in grades 1 through 8, seven children who graduated from Au Co Pre-School in 2015 returned to join the VSPY group. These children had completed a successful first year in the Boston Public Schools and were among the most advanced students in their classes. Our fall pre-school program is continuing according to schedule, and we are still enrolling new students to fill several remaining open spots.

VietAID Scholarly Program for Youth (VSPY)

Piers Park Sailing Trip
Piers Park Sailing Trip

The VietAID Scholarly Program for Youth (VSPY) runs a six-week program every summer for rising 1st – 8th graders. This summer, we had 98 students enrolled in our program, which featured a weekly field trip program to visit cultural, historical, natural, and fun spaces around the Greater Boston Area, including the Harvard Museum, Chinatown, the Freedom Trail, the Institute of Contemporary Art Museum, the Children’s Museum, Carson Beach, the Museum of Fine Arts, the MIT Museum, Alexander Kemp Playground, Joe Moakley Park, the Commonwealth Museum, the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Aquarium, Thompson Island, Piers Park Sailing, Spectacle Island, and the Museum of Science. We also partnered with Tenacity, All Dorchester Sports League, the New England Revolution, and Citi Performing Arts – City Spotlights Leadership Program to provide physical education and arts programming for the students.

VSPY visit to Harvard University
VSPY visit to Harvard University

VSPY continued its college readiness programming this summer, taking our rising 7th and 8th graders on college tours to Suffolk University and Harvard University. These visits were a great opportunity for our students to visit different campuses and underscore the importance of the work they are putting into their education right now. VSPY also added a new social justice curriculum to promote discussions about class, gender, the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality, and the long history of racism and violence in America. This was a critical learning space for our youth to think about how social justice issues affect them personally and the roles and responsibilities they can assume to support social justice work.

We celebrated the end of summer with a family potluck that gave students the chance to share their work and put on performances for the community.

We currently have 68 students enrolled in our fall program, which began in October. We have new partnerships with the LEAH Project to provide science activities to our 1st – 3rd graders, as well as partnerships with the Cleveland Community Center, Fields Corner Library, and the All Dorchester Sports League. This fall, we will introduce an ethnic studies class for our students to learn more about different holidays and the stories behind them.

VietAID Leadership Alliance (VALA)

The VietAID Leadership Alliance (VALA) provides leadership, employment, and academic opportunities for high school youths. This summer, 15 high school youths were hired through VALA to work as teaching assistants and assistant counselors for VietAID’s VSPY program. Another four volunteered as all-day counselors. Eleven of these youths are VSPY alums who participated in VSPY when they were younger.

Summer 2016 VSPY Staff from VALA
Summer 2016 VSPY Staff from VALA

In addition to working at VSPY, VALA youth engaged in weekly workshops about how racism and classism affect our education system and life outcomes, meeting with a group of Vietnamese-American women leaders who talked about their personal educational journeys, why they decided to be educators, and the role of community work in their professions. Also during our summer program, VALA collaborated with various organizations through the AWAY (Allies Working with Asian Youth) network to facilitate a three-week workshop series on the harmful dominant narrative about Muslim communities, Muslims’ experiences with racialized violence, and issues of xenophobia and racism. At the end of the summer, VALA youth had an opportunity to practice how they would intervene in harmful scenarios and stand up against anti-Muslim behavior. Through these and other workshops, VALA aims to maximize our youth’s vision of becoming local educators and community leaders.

This fall, we have 25 high school youths enrolled in VALA (13 of whom are VSPY alums) and acting as VSPY After-School volunteers, helping our 1st through 8th graders with homework and assisting group leaders during enrichment activities. In the coming months, VALA will be launching another year of youth leadership development programming, both engaging a new cohort of youth participants and continuing to engage with last year’s cohort.

New Support for VietAID

We are excited to announce that we have received three new grants to support our programs and make needed improvements to the community center.

The Liberty Mutual Foundation has provided us with a $20,000 grant in support of the educational activities of the VietAID Leadership Alliance (VALA).
The Franklin Square House Foundation has awarded an $18,000 grant to fund infrastructure improvements at Au Co preschool.
The Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation has given a $10,000 grant to support our Fields Corner development program to revitalize the Fields Corner community through real estate development (including the construction of affordable “green” housing and community spaces), civic engagement, and asset development.

We are extremely grateful to these partners for their ongoing support of our work!

Staff Updates at VietAID

We are excited to announce that Eric Fellinger has joined the team as the Director of Real Estate. Eric brings experience from a diversity of perspectives to this position. As a professional planner, he has worked for agencies at the state, regional, and local levels, and has sat on a number of development and design review boards. Eric has also worked as a private consultant in permitting for real estate and transportation. For several years, Eric has been primarily focused on raising his three children who are now 6, 8, and 10 years old, and has re-entered the full-time workforce in order to join VietAID.

We are also pleased to share that Jeff Katz, MPA, MSW is serving as Interim Executive Director. A senior non-profit consultant, Jeff specializes in organizational development, fundraising, and management. He was Executive Director of two organizations, including Adoption Rhode Island, for 14 years. He has served as an Interim Executive Director for 8 organizations, each time resulting in a turnaround. In addition to his work as a non-profit consultant, Jeff is a nationally recognized child welfare expert. He has a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University.

We’re hiring!

We are actively searching to fill open positions at VietAID, including Director of Development and Youth Program Social Worker. For more information or to apply, contact us at admin@vietaid.org. Please share these postings with anyone who may be a good fit!