Say Hello to the Old and the New: AACS  Seniors Programs

February 2017

In This Issue
Korean Senior Options Program

The Korean Senior Options Program targets Korean seniors living in Franklin County, Ohio. Our primary goal is to provide Korean population who are 55 years of age or older with public assistance and culturally appropriate services in order to fulfill their needs in various aspects. Feel free to reach out to us, if you are struggling with social and language barriers.

To learn more about the program or if you have any question, please contact Daniel Nam at x 223.
Immigration Law Event

Saturday, 2/25/17 at 10:45 am

Friends Theater
Upper Arlington Public Library
2800 Tremont Rd,
Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Understand the recent executive
orders on immigration and what they mean for Asian immigrants, including Legal Permanent
Residents (green card holders), visa-holders, and visitors.  You can also look up our  facebook   for more info.  If you need an interpreter, feel free to call 614-216- 4988 for a request.

If you plan on attending or have any question and topics of interest, p
lease RSVP to Asafu Suzuki ( or 614-220-4023 x.240) by
5 pm on February 22
Minority Health Month
April, 2017

Event 1: Healthy Relationship Workshop
04/08/2017 10am - 12pm

Event 2: Colon Cancer Awareness Workshop
04/29/2017 10am - 12pm

Location: Tree of Life Conference Center
5000 Arlington Centre Blvd
Columbus, OH 43220

Please RSVP to Chin-Yin Shih (614-220-4023 x224/

ESL Winter Quarter
Starting January 9, 2017

10 am - 12 noon
Mondays (Beginner Level)
Tuesdays (Intermediate Level)
Wednesdays (Intermediate Level)
Thursdays (Advanced Level)

For more information, please call AACS for more information: 614-220-4023
Women's Quilting Group  
Thursdays, 1pm-3pm @AACS

This project seeks to connect women, share stories of  courage, create beauty, and move towards healing in our lives with one another. 

All craft supplies will be provided, and take-home kits will be available. The group will be hosted at AACS (4700 Reed Rd., Suite B, Columbus Ohio, 43220).

To learn more about our quilting group or are interested in attending, please contact our Program Coordinator, Yihong Dong at  or 614-220-4023 x 100 .
Ikebana Classes:
Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement
Mondays, 2pm-3pm or 3:15pm-4:15pm

Our current classes are full.
Please stay tuned for sign-ups in our next series.

To learn more about our Ikebana classes or are interested attending, contact our Program Coordinator,  Yihong Dong at
or 614-220-4023 x 100.
Senior Benefits Program

If you have questions about:
-Medicare Part A, B, & D
-Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs)
-(Medicare Part D) Extra Help
-Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
-Food Stamp Program (SNAP)
-Where to go for help
-Other related questions

Please contact  Yihong Dong at  614-220-4023 x100 or
Giving Refuge:  A Conversation about the Current Refugee Crisis

Wednesday, 2/22/2017  7 pm - 9 pm

Vineyard Columbus
6000 Cooper Rd
Westerville, Ohio 43081

This event is hosted by World Relief Columbus. You will be discussing with Matthew Soerens, co-author of "Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis" about caring for refugees.

3rd Annual Cancer Disparities Conference
Saturday, 3/18/2017  8:30 am - 3:30 pm

Longaberger Alumni House
2200 Olentangy River Road
Columbus, OH 43210

Through lectures and panel discussions, the conference provides info about cancer disparities and best practices in achieving equity in prevention and treatment. 

Admission: $25

Korea 1950
11/11/2016 - 04/02/2017
Ohio History Center

See an extraordinary exhibit of Korean War photographs taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning  Associated Press photographer Max Desfor.

Adult: $10
Youth(6-12): $5
Senior(60+): $9
Ohio History Connection member or Child(5&under): Free.
Free Health  Consultation

The second Sunday afternoon, every month
12:45pm - 1:30pm

Columbus Chinese Christian Church
4141 Maize Rd, Columbus, OH 43224

For more information, please contact: Changcheng Zhao, 614-715-2212

Lao Volunteer Donation Association:
Monthly Provisions Giveaway
2017 Produce Market Dates

Saturday, 02/18/17- 10:00 am-1:00 pm

1160 Alum Creek Drive
Columbus, OH 43209

 Please call 614-506-1167 or 614-252-5786 to confirm.
Families living at or below the Federal Poverty Line are eligible to receive free produce. Please bring a bag to carry away your goods.
The Korean and Cambodian senior programs are supported by the Franklin County Office on Aging.

The sexual assault training and production of related content in this newsletter were supported by subgrant No. 02560272SA0117 awarded by the state administering office for the SASP Formula Grant Program.  The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the state or the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.


Korean Seniors Program
In January 2017, AACS welcomed a new program into its Youth & Family Department. This new program, the Korean Seniors Program, targets Korean seniors ages 60 and older in Franklin County, Ohio. It supports both the seniors and their families by connecting them to free public assistance and providing case management services.

While Koreans make up nearly 10% of the Asian-American population in the U.S., 62% of them were foreign born. As a result, the Korean-American population, especially the elderly, has a variety of cultural and social needs that are not addressed by mainstream social services providers. In 2014, roughly 2,890 Koreans lived in Central Ohio.

With the efforts of Daniel "Danny" Nam, the Korean Senior Outreach Specialist, the program, only in its second month, serves 20 clients. And he is just getting started with his outreach. According to Danny, the language barrier is the primary challenge for his clients. "None of them speak English at all," he said. 

Surveys show that Korean-American households had the highest rate of linguistic isolation (57%) among all Asian-Americans, with 84% of Koreans 50 years and older having limited English proficiency. Being incapable of communicating in English has made community resources, government benefits, and even healthcare difficult to access for this population. Lack of language access creates obstacles, even for daily tasks such as paying bills, filling out paperwork, and grocery shopping.

The Korean Seniors Program responds to these needs, providing Korean seniors with assistance in a variety of daily tasks. These services include but are not limited to medical/legal appointments, benefits and citizenship enrollment, and different education courses. The program also welcomes requests for daily support such as transportation, assistance with paperwork, and grocery shopping.

The new program is full of potential. Danny is looking into starting an English class as a next step. The class will not only help seniors learn a valuable life skill but will also help them develop social relationships to fight isolation. 

Danny is also seeking senior companions, who will be volunteers for the program. However, he is currently struggling to recruit enough members to strengthen his team because senior companions must be low-income Koreans who are 55 and older. If you would like to support the program or know someone who would like to, please contact Danny at! 

American Fact Finder: Asian Alone By Selected Groups. Rep. United States Census Bureau, 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.
A Community of Contrasts: Asian Americans 50 and Older. Rep. Los Angeles: Asian Americans Advancing Justice, 2016. Print.
Cambodian Senior Options Project 
The Cambodian Senior Options Project aims to provide public assistance and daily support to Cambodian seniors living in Central Ohio. The program, which started in 2012, recognizes the language barrier and social needs of Cambodians who are 60 years old and above. 

Most Cambodians who came to the U.S arrived as refugees in the late 1970s and early 1980s, not long after the Khmer Rouge was overthrown. Today, there is an estimated 1,600 to 2,200 Cambodians living in the Columbus area, according to different sources. In addition to struggling with language barriers and other challenges for daily survival in America, elderly Cambodians are at great risk of suffering from trauma and depression due to the historical background of the Khmer Rouge persecuting and massacring the innocent.

"Most of them are illiterate, even in their own language," said Oeun Chan, AACS's Cambodian Senior Outreach Specialist, "and it's hard for them to learn another language." Oeun, a member of the Cambodian community herself, has been providing assistance to Cambodian seniors in the United States for 15 years, even before she came to AACS four years ago.

A large percentage of her clients have very limited English proficiency; most do not speak English at all. On the other hand, their families have difficulties taking care of them because of demanding work schedules and poor time management. As a result, the seniors are often struggling with a variety of needs, the most notable of which are interpretation, transportation, doctor's appointments, housing, and grocery shopping. They also have limited access to government benefits and healthcare including Medicaid, Social Security, and food stamps.

Since Oeun is the only staff working on this program at AACS, she spends every single day visiting and helping her elderly clients in Central Ohio through case management services. She regularly takes them to food pantries and grocery giveaways, so they are able to replenish their refrigerators for the next few days. She accompanies them to the Social Security office and doctor's appointments, providing interpretation and other assistance as needed. In addition to addressing her clients' daily needs, Oeun also organizes picnics for her clients in summer time to let them relax and get to know one another.

Oeun and her program's achievements go beyond providing basic services and social support to the clients. One of Oeun's clients, 77, has been in the program for years and is a volunteer "senior companion" who helps other clients in need. In September 2016, his wife passed away, leaving him sad and lonely for a long time. Seeing his struggles, Oeun asked a single lady in the program, who was blind but living independently, if she would like to accept this man. Since she was 70 and their respective children were not around, both of them wanted to live with somebody and take care of each other.

Because of Asian cultural norms, the two did not want to "illegally" live together (or, in other words, cohabitate), so they decided to officially get married. The couple officially got engaged in late January and have set the wedding date for February 18th. Oeun and other community members have been helping the new couple with shopping for clothing for the wedding, housing arrangements, applying for a marriage license, and other wedding arrangements.

With years of hard work and dedication, Oeun has built trust in the Cambodian community and now serves almost a hundred clients a year. She is really glad what she is doing can help the elderly out when their families don't have enough time or resources to provide the full support they need. AACS is proud of Oeun and her program and thanks her for her hard work delivering much needed services to the underserved members of our community.

The new couple at their engagement.

The bridegroom and the program specialist Oeun Chan.
Welcome, New AACS Team Members!!
Kevin Fells
Fiscal Controller

Kevin Fells is the Fiscal Controller with Asian American Community Services. In this role, Kevin provides leadership in all aspects of accounting/financial services including budgeting, financial statement preparation, and grantor/funder reporting. Kevin is a qualified accountant and holds a Bachelor of Science degree (majoring in accounting) from Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio.

Kevin is no stranger to not-for-profit accounting, having spent over 20 years in various senior accounting roles responsible for directing the full spectrum of accounting and financial management services. His extensive, long-range experience includes working for a diverse group of nonprofit organizations ranging from a small ($1M annual budget) private school to a large ($125M annual budget) corporation that provides senior services in multiple locations throughout Ohio.

Kevin has served as Board Treasurer for two local nonprofits and in a volunteer leadership capacity with a state-wide, as well as a national professional association. In his free time, Kevin loves to travel and is also an avid sports fan.

Lei Cao
Family Support Program Intern

Lei was born in the Southeast of China. She is now a master student at the Ohio State University College in Social Work. She is passionate about arts and interested in how arts can heal people. She got her Bachelor Degree in finance. And she has two years working experience in bank. During her volunteer experience in community services, she found that helping people solve problems make her feel more fulfilled, and that's why she is pursuing a master degree in social work and starts her internship at AACS. She likes working with people who have the same ethnic background with hers, since there are so many problems overlooked by others that need to be addressed.
Immigrant vs. Refugee FAQs

Q: What is the main difference between an immigrant and a refugee?
A: An immigrant is someone who willingly chooses to resettle in another country and is free to return to homeland. In contrast, a refugee is someone who has been forced to leave his or her country of origin. He or she is unable to return because of war or persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Q: What is their difference in resettlement?
A: Refugee camps provide refugees with public assistance in basic amenities and healthcare until they can return to their homeland or move to a third country like Australia and Canada. In contrast, immigrants have to explore a new environment on their own. 

Q: What is their difference in legal status? 
A: Refugees are governed and protected by the refugee law and the 1967 Protocol, while immigrants need to fill out official paperwork from government/embassy and have to abide by the laws of the country in which he or she resettles.

Break the Silence:
Sexual Assault Training
Chin-Yin Shih presenting to participants.

On January 28, AACS held a training on sexual assault in AAPI communities for our staff, interpreters, ESL instructors, volunteers, and others who help support our work. The training sought to raise awareness of sexual violence and its impacts among AACS personnel who do not primarily work on our programming related to sexual violence. Chin-Yin Shih, who is a licensed social worker and senior program manager for our Family Support Program (FSP), led the training attended by 29 people. The session covered the definition of sexual assault, facts and myths related to sexual violence, victim-blaming, and community resources available to those who need support.

In the U.S., 1 in 5 women have experienced rape or attempted rape in their lifetime, and 43.9% have experienced other forms of sexual violence. As these statistics demonstrate, sexual violence is a widespread issue that requires the attention of all communities. By requiring personnel who do not primarily work on sexual violence programming to complete the training, AACS hopes to raise general awareness of sexual violence and enable our personnel in all programs to respond appropriately to survivors who may need support.

The January training was the first time that AACS held an agency-wide training on sexual violence, and similar trainings will be held for AACS personnel and other community members throughout the year. If you are interested in bringing a training to your community group, please contact Chin-Yin (, 614-220-4023 x.224)!