It has been over two months since the 2009-2010 year of A-VOYCE has started, and I’ve had an enjoyable time spending my Saturdays with the new youth as well as the Youth Council, now consisting of around 20 members. It is hard to distinguish who is new and who is veteran as we all spend the morning in the same workshops. This unity between old and new A-VOYCE was one of our successful goals that we discussed last year. The Secret Santa held this Wednesday will further strengthen the bond between old and new members.
Our new A-VOYCE members (the Parcel 24 generation), have been eager to learn during the workshops over the weeks. Workshops have been on Chinatown, managing money, and other topics pertaining to the Phase I theme of Identity and Community. I especially enjoyed the house buying scenario, where the group was split up into pairs to work together as a family to find a house in the competitive housing market. One has to keep in mind of the specific income that we were each given. There was then the dilemma of deciding how to spend the rest of our very limited annual income. This showed us the hardships that a resident in Chinatown has to overcome financially. These activities are what open up to me parts of Chinatown that I didn’t fully understand.
Though the Youth Council and First Year Youth have worked together in workshops, our schedules throughout the year are different. Thanks to improved organization this year, a master plan for this year has been mapped out. Three phases divide the curriculum for A-VOYCE and insure different subjects will be learned and different activities done throughout the year. Interacting with the community was one of the important points of improvement that we emphasized last year. Therefore interviews with other Asian American organizations and more guest speakers can be expected later this year. The master plan has been further planned through the Youth Council’s monthly meetings, which have been all productive this year.
The decision to hold a monthly Youth Council meeting gave A-VOYCE the communication that it seemed to lack last year. Communication dramatically improved and our winter party on December 30th is the result of better planning this year. As well as social gatherings, the Youth Council has discussed more extensive projects such as a Walking Tour Video. The video is to be sold after tours to educators and the public in order to promote awareness of the history of Chinatown and Asian Americans to the public. Fundraising and community outreach projects have also been discussed and have much potential. The proposed idea of assigning an initiator, ambassador, and catalysts for events/social gatherings works efficiently as the new leadership system.
The year seems bright, and I am anticipating many more fun experiences at A-VOYCE, as well as learning more about the Chinatown neighborhood and Asian American issues.
–Anthony Cheung, Oak Terrace Youth