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Out & About in Cleveland

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Asian Services in Action's (ASIA) 2015 Gala and Fundraiser at Cleveland State University

Margaret W. Wong and Associates was proud to be a corporate sponsor of Asian Services in Action's (ASIA) 2015 Gala and Fundraiser which was held on the 3rd Floor of the Student Union at CSU. Each year one of ASIA's seven departments is singled out for recognition and this year is was the Children, Youth and Family Services Department (CYF) so, appropriately, the theme chosen for the evening was "creating futures." As the program notes described it, ASIA's CYF program "focuses on 'cradle to career' (pre-K through grade 12) development, acculturation, academic assistance, and enrichment. CYT also arranges language-specific peer support groups for women, parenting educati on, and advocacy for refugee/immigrant parents of children and youth. In addition the department provides services for Survivors of Domestic Violence (DV)/Sexual Assault SA/Human Trafficking. Ms. Kitty Leung, Manager of CYF, spoke for a few minutes and said that communities working together can solve things but the commitment to create the future is a long commitment which takes the time and effort of many people. Two other good presentations were given by Mr. Michael Byun, Executive Director of ASIA, and Dr. Leanne Chrisman-Khawam, MD who is the Residency Program Director of MetroHealth Medical Center which was the premiere sponsor for the program. Mr. Byun talked about the ASIA Dream School in Lakewood which helps refugee/immigrant children adapt to life in the United States by providing after-school tutoring, physical activities, field trips, and summer education. Perhaps, more importantly the school helps the children build friendships and feel IMG_5836less isolated.

In addition to re-affirming MetroHealth's commitment to the work of ASIA, Dr. Chrisman-Khawam shared with us an experience that she had many years ago when an India bound flight that she was on was re-routed to Japan. All at once she was plunked down in a strange place with little or no knowledge about the culture and the language; if a family friend had not been there to help her Dr. Chrisman-Khawam is not sure what she would have done. She said that the experience helped her develop a true sense of compassion for what refugees/immigrants have to go through.

Throughout the evening there was beautiful music, auctions and games. The emcee was our good friend, Mr. Wayne Wong and we shared a table with Ms. Lisa Wong, President of OCA Greater Cleveland Chapter. Dinner consisted of many options and, of course, we ate more tofu and green beans than what we should have. We had a good visit with Ms. Rebecca Jenkins, ESL Coordinator for Project Learn in Akron and her husband, Mr. Richard Swirsky, who was the former editor of the "Plain Press" in Cleveland. We were particularly impressed by some Magnificat High School who volunteer a lot of time with the ASIA Dream School taking part in the tutoring and summer school programs. To be sure, we encountered our good friend Ms. Sibley Strader who reminded us that we bought a little doll beautifully crafted from string from her last year so, naturally, we bought another one this year. We know that the money will go to a good cause and now we have something to hang from our overhead lamp that we can look up as we stretch out in our chair right after we complete our blog each day.

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