A Commitment to Community Service: Park Cleanup with AALEAD
Last week, several CAPAL board members and staff joined our friends at Asian American Lead (AALead) to help clean up Piney Branch-Crestwood Park during the 26th Annual Potomac River Watershed Clean Up. We would like to thank Tina Ngo of AALEAD for planning the park cleanup and inviting CAPAL to participate in it.
AALEAD’s mission is to promote the well-being of low-income and under-served Asian American youth through education, leadership, and community building. I highly encourage those who are unfamiliar with this amazing organization to learn more by visiting their page at http://www.aalead.org. As a part of an organization deeply committed to developing tomorrow’s leaders today, the CAPAL board and staff were eager to spend time with and provide support to AALEAD youth at the park cleanup and instill the value of teamwork and the importance of giving back to our community.
It was a rewarding experience to spend a morning doing community service with the boys and girls of AALEAD youth. Working together, we picked up 32 bags of trash, and 12 bags of recycling. There was an atmosphere of mutual bonding and community. As we completed our park clean up tasks, CAPAL board members and staff had the opportunity to talk to these bright and committed young people about their future interests and goals. In turn, the AALEAD youth appreciated connecting with CAPAL board members and saw us as their older brothers and sisters for a day. Together, we reinforced the value of community service and ethics, and had a lot of fun doing it.
To get involved with CAPAL’s community service efforts, I encourage you to sign up for CAPAL’s newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming CAPAL events. By getting involved with CAPAL, you can support our Scholarships and Internships Program and Washington Leadership Program, and make a difference in the lives of Asian Pacific American college students and young professionals. You can also support CAPAL by making a donation or attending our upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala.
Dan Lam is a Management Information Specialist at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). At HUD, Dan helps oversee the Department’s financial management systems to ensure that they comply with Federal laws and regulations. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Dan graduated with a B.S. in General Science from the University of Oregon, and later received a M.S. in Information Systems Technology from George Washington University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Organization for Vietnamese American Leadership (NOVAL). Dan often spends his time helping out with the Vietnamese Literary and Artistic Club of the DC Metro Area (VLAC/NHÀ VIỆT NAM) and Ket Doan Association.
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Crash Course for “Networking” Success: Andrew’s Top Three Tips
#1: Relationship-building is the real goal
After interning in DC for two summers and working full-time for nearly three years now, I have come to understand the importance and value of networking with my fellow peers and colleagues. People say that networking is important for your success, and while I do agree, I’ve also found it to be simpler and less daunting than that: I like to think of it as simply connecting with people on shared values and interests and continuing to build relationships. To me, it’s relationship-oriented, not goal-oriented.
And while I believe relationship building is part of a lifestyle and not one event, Thursday’s happy hour is a great start. For those new to the Washington, DC area or simply looking to connect or re-connect with the Asian Pacific American (APA) community, CAPAL’s springtime happy hour offers a wonderful opportunity to do so.
#2: Join forces with like-minded people
This year, CAPAL is very excited to be partnering with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association (CAPASA) for a fun night of networking and engagement. Other community organizations joining CAPAL include the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), Advancing Justice-AAJC, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), and OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates.
I’ve learned in my professional life that seeing things from someone else’s point of view is immensely helpful. Understanding what others care about and what their passions are is an important step toward bringing common ideas together to build something great—whether it’s a charity fundraiser or bringing relevant issues that affect all of us in the community to the forefront.
#3: Be generous – Help and give more than you take
Furthermore, I’ve found that networking is also about reciprocating and giving often – such as helping others with their goals when you can – rather than being a means to an end. I think when I’ve been generous with my energy and my time with others, becoming genuinely interested in their goals and passions, it has come back and helped me in ways I would not have anticipated! But you have to give.
There are so many fantastic people I’d love for you to meet on Thursday. So come enjoy the night and also learn about CAPAL’s upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala on May 9th and how to purchase tickets. I will be there, and I hope you will be there too.
Andrew Chang is the bilingual community outreach specialist and public information officer for the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs (OAPIA). At OAPIA, he is involved in communications and outreach duties for the agency, and also uses his Chinese language skills to assist limited English proficient, District of Columbia Asian American and Pacific Islander residents with their issues, particularly in the area of employment. Outside of OAPIA and CAPAL, Andrew is also involved with the AAPI community through OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates and OCA-DC. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Master of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in Public Affairs from the University of Florida.
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