The Village Initiative
The Village Initiative
The Village Initiative is a continued joint effort of three non-profit community organizations:
CCACC-Mental Health 360
Chinese American Parent Association (CAPA)
Asian American Study at the University of Maryland (AAST)
The Village Initiative aims to promote the overall well-being of our community by providing education, resource referrals, and other necessary resources for community members in need.
Love Has No Boundaries: The Caring Village Introduction
The Village Initiative’s first activity took place on March 9, 2019, at CCACC, hosting a seminar on caring for special needs children. This seminar shared the story of a deaf dancer and her experience growing up. We also invited MCPS’s Special Education program experts, mental health consultants, and organizations focused on helping families with special needs children to introduce school resources.
There is a saying that “it takes a village to raise a child”. If raising the “average” child takes a village, how much more does it take to raise a child with special needs, a child who requires individualized attention? The amount of care their family can provide is not sufficient; the community, school system, and local organizations also need to come together to meet the child’s needs.
“The Caring Village” came about when Mr. Lee (alias) found out about PAVHC’s Mental Health 360 Program and hoped to help special needs children and their family through this program. Mr. Lee’s son had a stutter as a kid. As the parent of a special need’s child, he understands the difficulties of caring for such a child. At the time, he didn’t understand the special education program within the public school system and was even somewhat against the Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, after he started to understand the program, he slowly turned into an advocate. Mr. Lee’s son, Eric (alias), participated in speech training under IEP; every week the school would have a speech therapist work with Eric. Eric’s parents, the school, and the speech therapist would have an annual IEP meeting discussing Eric’s progress to determine how to meet his needs in the future. Through his hard work and the integrated efforts of his family and school, his stutter slowly disappeared. Beginning in high school, he no longer needed to participate in IEP and was even able to be admitted into a prestigious university. This experience allowed Mr. Lee to witness the humanization of America’s education system. Over the years, Mr. Lee has dedicated his free time to helping a child with special needs, helping his family understand available community and school resources that can help their child reach his full potential. Mr. Lee hopes to unite community efforts to help children with special needs and their families.
The Mental Health 360 Program began in 2015 with the efforts of local doctors and psychiatrists. The program has raised awareness on mental health through seminars and essay contests. It has helped those in dire situations by providing consultations, referrals, and other services. In 2016, the program worked with CAPA-MC and the University of Maryland’s AAST to host discussions about intergenerational conflicts among immigrant families. These three organizations continue to serve the needs to the Asian American community through the Village Initiative, hoping to build a healthier and brighter future.
Community Conversations: Parenting Children with Special Needs
2.15.2020 Community Conversation
On February 15, 2020, We invited Dr. Sarah Dababnah, Assistant Professor at University of Maryland, School of Social Work, to provide a presentation on parenting children with special needs. Dr. Dababnah introduced her study on the care-giving burdens of Asian families. In this event, we also invited professional service providers, including pediatric psychiatrists, speech therapists, and researchers from UMD and Special Olympic to introduce available services. About 15 families with special needs children joined our discussion.
Volunteer to Join the Village
We intended to provide continue supports to families with special needs. Volunteers are needed for following services:
Big Brother Big Sister Club: high school students
Interpreters to accompany parents to school meetings and important treatment appointments
Child care provider