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!

VietAID TODAY – Issue 2 – March 2014

Issue 2 | March 2014
Level 1
Level 1
Level 2
Tuesday & Thursday 9:00-11:00 AM
42 Charles St.
Dorchester, MA 02122
Registration is always open, please call VACA for more information 
(617) 288- 7344  



The Fish Foundation  


Chang Remodeling Corp  


Vietnamese Small Business Association of Massachusetts


International Ballroom Dancing


Quang Trung VOVINAM


Hướng đạo Bạch Đằng


Phương Anh Nguyễn


Đinh Lập


Bảo Cường


Parents & Teachers Âu Cơ Preschool


VietAID Afterschool Middle school Dance group 
Viet-AID Contact Info
42 Charles St.
Dorchester, MA 02122
Phone: 617-822-3717
Fax: 617-822-3718
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From the Executive Director

Dear Friends,

On February 16th, we at Viet-AID hosted our annual celebration of the New Year – the Year of the Horse.  It was indeed a joyous occasion,

and I would like to thank all of the volunteers and staff who made it possible.  Together with friends new and old, we enjoyed a spirited dragon dance, formal rituals, entertaining poetry, much singing and dancing, and great food.  But there was a moment I would like particularly to highlight – when we welcomed our “new” old friend, Mayor Martin J. Walsh.  The State Representative everyone knew as Marty was always most supportive of the Vietnamese community, and we are very proud to be able to call Boston’s new Mayor our friend.

In this issue of Viet-AID TODAY, you will get a quick look at some of the social service support that we are able to provide our community through our partnership with VACA – the Vietnamese American Civic Association.  VACA has a long history of providing support programs to those in need, and we are glad we have them here in our building and working with us, so that work can continue.

March is here, and while there is still snow on the ground and a chill in the air, we can feel the coming of Spring.  There are exciting things happening in our community and for Viet-AID, and I look forward to continuing to share them with you.




Nam Pham, Executive Director

Tết Celebration 2014

Viet-AID held its annual New Year’s celebration on February 16th,welcoming the Year of the Horse.  Attendance was very good as families braved the tough, snowy winter conditions.  Newly elected Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh joined with Viet-AID executive director Nam Pham in lighting the strings of firecrackers to start the festivities.  And we knew the Tết celebration was fully underway when the 2 dragons entered and performed their highly energetic dance.

Following a Flag ceremony, which offered stirring renditions of both the Vietnamese and American national anthems, and after the customary tribute to heaven and the ancestors, Viet-AID officials invited Mayor Walsh to address the crowd. The Mayor spoke of the strong support from the Vietnamese community that he has always enjoyed, and thanked everyone for supporting his election. “It’s so important for all of

us to celebrate our culture and traditions, because that is what Boston is all about” said Marty Walsh. Following his remarks, the Boston Vietnamese American Council awarded him a beautiful portrait.

There was plenty of good food available, and the celebration continued into the afternoon with songs, poetry, and dance performances.  We here at Viet-AID would like to thank all of our friends and supporters who helped make this annual tradition a huge success.

The Tet Celebration was on Fox News and Boston.com, and you can find more pictures on our website and Facebook pages.


VACA – A Helping Hand in Our Community


When Thao Nguyen first arrived in the United States, she was 61 years of age. Like most new immigrants, she faced a lot of challenges, and she struggled for the first five years after moving to her new country.  But the United States is a land of immigrants, and has a long history of communities helping newcomers to get settled. For the Vietnamese community In Boston, that help has come from VACA, the Vietnamese American Civic Association.

Here we have a story about the journey of a Vietnamese woman who found her new life in the United States with assistance from VACA. VACA helped her to access a variety of social services that are available, such as food stamps and affordable housing.  VACA went through the applications with her, translated letters for her, and sometimes went with her as interpreter and moral support. They helped her with job applications, so that she could help herself have better living conditions. Ms. Nguyen did her part and worked very hard to improve her life as she resettled in the US. Now she lives in affordable housing and has two part-time jobs, allowing her to be self-sufficient.  And while she has become independent, she has also become a very active community member, who loves to volunteer and attend different community events. “Seeing the smile always on her face, we know she is getting more comfortable here and has a completely new life!” said MyHoang, the executive director of VACA. 

VACA has its office in the Vietnamese American Community Center at 42 Charles Street, and continues to provide our community with essential social services by working in partnership with Viet-AID.  You can learn more about VACA by visiting our website at www.vaca-boston.org, or by finding us on Facebook.

Support Viet-AID. Go Shopping!


Do you know that you can support VietAID while shopping at AmazonSmile without extra cost?

Amazon now donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.






AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.

Only 3 Steps and you can make a big difference to VietAID:

1. Please go to http://smile.amazon.com/

2. Enter “Vietnamese American Initiative for Development Inc.” as the organization that you support.

3. Go shop!

Thank you for your support!

Should you have any question, please feel free to contact Michelle Hu at michelle@vietaid.org or 617-822-3717 X15



VietAID TODAY – Issue 1 – January 2014


Issue 1 | January 2014







Upcoming Event

Celebrate Year of the Horse with Viet-AID!

 February 16th, 2014


42 Charles St.

Dorchester, MA 02122


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Viet-AID has received the Community Award from the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA)



Viet-AID Contact Info

42 Charles St.

Dorchester, MA 02122

Phone: 617-822-3717

Fax: 617-822-3718



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From the Executive Director


Dear Friends,


It is my pleasure to welcome you to Viet-AID TODAY, our first electronic newsletter.  Each month, we will highlight one of the many programs that make Viet-AID what it is today – a vibrant organization serving your needs and working with you to improve our local community.  This month we will share three inspiring stories from our Youth Programs, including the exciting opportunity our teens have in helping to guide Boston’s budgeting process.   

In the months to come, we will highlight our work in real estate, economic development, social services, and civic engagement. There is so much to be proud of, and I invite you to learn more about us by visiting us on the Web at www.VietAID.org, or on Facebook.

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Viet-AID TODAY.





Nam Pham, Executive Director



Teens to Help City of Boston Spend 

A Million Dollars


Two teens from Viet-AID’s High School Peer Leadership Program will have a very exciting, real-life experience in civic engagement this spring, helping the City of Boston make decisions on how to spend real money.  In creating the last budget of his 20 years in office, Mayor Thomas Menino set aside $1 million for capital projects to be allocated entirely by youths.  The City has signed an agreement with a non-profit organization called the Participatory Budgeting Project to help launch the Youth Participatory Budgeting Process.  According to the City of Boston’s statement, starting in January and running to July, youth from all parts of Boston will come together as a steering committee to “identify projects to improve their communities, vet those projects, consider trade-offs, and vote on how to spend the $1 million.”


Last fall, the City posted an open invitation to all young residents, youth groups and other organizations to apply for membership on the Steering Committee.  Viet-AID was very fortunate to have two members of the Youth Program selected to this committee. As peer leaders of Viet-AID’s Leadership Alliance (VALA), Tony Nguyen, a junior year at John D. O’Bryant High School, and Vicky Nguyen (no relation to Tony), a sophomore at the same school will serve as youth representatives on the steering committee. “This is a very exciting opportunity for the young people personally, and for Viet-AID as well,” said Carro Hua, who is the Youth Leadership Coordinator and Americorps Massachusetts Promise fellow. “Tony and Vicky will gain a hands-on civic experience along with their other peers as they will also participate in the general participatory budgeting process and as the process unfolds, we will have the opportunity to witness the important impact to our neighborhoods led by young people.”


As of this writing, the Youth Participatory Budgeting Steering Committee will have had its first meeting, launching this groundbreaking program. When the program concludes later this year, decisions will have been made on a million dollars worth of tangible improvements in the City of Boston.  We at Viet-AID are so pleased to know that our young people will have played a part in developing those plans.




New Preschool Class to Open in March!


The Au Co Preschool is happy to announce that we will open a new class early this year! Viet-AID has been running the Au Co Preschool in Dorchester for more than 10 years, and we have always had a long waiting list for enrollment. 


However, children’s  education cannot wait, and Viet-AID sees the very great need for affordable, licensed bilingual early education. So in order to increase capacity and provide services to more families, Viet-AID has been preparing to expand Au Co preschool. After a year-long effort, on January 7th the Au Co Preschool Expansion was approved by the Zoning Board! We are expecting to open a new bilingual class for 20 children aged 2.9 to 5 years in March, with 1,300 square feet of newly renovated space!


If you are interested in further information, please contact Trang Nguyen at 617-822-3717 Ext. 16.



Learning is Fun!


The youth in our After School Program enjoy a major field trip each spring, fall, and winter term. This winter, we took our elementary school students to the Boston Children’s Museum!  The 33 kids on the excursion were split up into small groups, and each group explored the museum in their own way.  The Boston Children’s Museum provides a wide variety of educational exhibits that allow kids to learn by playing, on many subjects including science, culture, environmental awareness, health & fitness, and art.  

One of the largest and most attractive exhibits to kids is the “New Balance Climb,” a 3-story climbing sculpture made of flowing curved platforms.  The exhibit provides a safe environment for taking risks, and the children are both challenged and excited as they try to find the best path. 


Another very popular exhibit is the “Bubble,” which provides children with many different tools and surfaces to learn how to create different sized bubbles. They get to learn some basic science while solving problems through observation and effort.  It was more than just a fun experience, it was also a meaningful field trip.  Our kids had a most delightful time at the Boston Children’s Museum. 



Au Co Preschool Christmas Party


Christmas is always the kids’ favorite holiday! Last month, Au Co preschool held a Christmas Party, inviting all the children and parents to have fun together. At the party, each of the Ladybugs, Butterflies and Ducklings classes of kids performed cute song-

and-dance shows that put a sparkle in everyone’s eyes. 





Of course, Christmas means GIFTS! 

This year, Viet-AID was grateful to 

receive 200 toys from Toys for Tots. Every kid received a secret wrapped gift. Actually, each gift was carefully selected by the teachers according to each child’s favorite. This party was a great opportunity for parents to join the children’s school time, and have the chance to meet other parents. The party was filled with love, and put a giant smile on each child’s face.