Senior Benefits Program:
Connecting Those in Need to Core Benefits

March 2017

In This Issue
Korean Seniors Program

The Korean Seniors 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 "Danny" Nam at x 223.

ESL Spring Quarter
Starting April 10, 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 x.230
Join AACS  for our Minority Health Month 2017 Events!

With the support of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, AACS will be hosting a series of workshops and a mini-health fair in recognition of Minority Health Month. We hope to see you in April!

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

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

Event 3: Mini-Health Fair
04/08/2017&04/29/2017 10am - 12pm
Health screenings, health education booths, and more!

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

Please RSVP to Chin-Yin Shih (614-220-4023 x224/
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
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, 03/18/17- 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.
February 2017 Newsletter Corrections

In the first advertisement, the name of the program was stated incorrectly. The program name should be "Korean Seniors Program" instead of "Korean Senior Options Program." The advertisement in this edition has been updated to reflect this correction.


Senior Benefits Program: Connecting Those in Need to Core Benefits

Yihong Dong promotes AACS's Senior Benefits Program.

Supported by a subgrant from our sister agency, Asian Services In Action (ASIA), the Senior Benefits Program targets seniors aged 65 and over as well as persons with disabilities, regardless of racial or ethnic background. One of AACS's newer services, the program started in March 2016 to assist these populations in signing up for a broad range of public benefits with a focus on Medicare Part D, Medicare Savings Programs, Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Food Stamp Program (SNAP), and Medicaid.

Yihong Dong, the program coordinator, has been responsible for the Senior Benefits Program since last May. Her task is basically to walk each client through the process of signing up for the public benefits they seek to access, starting from determining the client's eligibility and going through each step of the application process. Most of the clients the program has served since its inception have been Mandarin speakers, Cambodians, Lao, and Koreans. So far, the applications submitted have been primarily for Medicaid, Medicare, and food stamps.

In order to reach out to different communities, Yihong has been visiting other local organizations and institutions, including senior apartments, the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus (BNCC), and the Lao Volunteer Donation Association, to make the groups aware of AACS's services and allow them to refer their clients where AACS can help. She has also visited the Columbus Chinese Christian Church, the Indian temple in Columbus, and food pantries to introduce low-income seniors to the program.

Yihong believes that while what the program is able to offer is unavoidably limited, these services are still important because of her clients' lack of resources.  Although language and culture act as the most significant barriers for Asian American seniors in accessing healthcare, lack of health literacy also prevents them from actively seeking health coverage. Compared to nearly half of all elderly population who had both Medicare and supplementary private health insurance, only 31% of Asian seniors had access to the same resources in 2013.

The bigger problem, however, may be that many eligible individuals simply do not recognize that there are benefits that are available to them. "Even proficient English speakers do not know where to go," said Yihong. She is continuously looking for ways to enhance the agency's message and to appeal to the maximum number of people. Yihong believes that to reach our target population most effectively, there need to be multiple channels of communication. Getting involved in the activities held by other organizations and having direct conversations with their members may be a more efficient and effective way to achieve this goal.

"Our outreach needs improvement," she continued. "My future plan is to reach out to more community members and to let them have a better understanding of what benefits they can apply for. I really hope they can get something from the program."

If you are interested in learning more about public benefits available in Franklin County or want assistance with an application, please contact Yihong (; 614-220-4023 x.100).
Immigration Forum Offers Education, Prompts Discussion on Future for Immigrants and Communities of Color

Community members gathered at Upper Arlington Public Library to learn about immigration policy and their rights.

AACS hosted "A Conversation with Attorneys," a community education forum and town hall meeting on recent changes in immigration policies, on February 25 at the Friends Theater in the Upper Arlington Public Library. About 45 people attended the 2-hour event, where two immigration attorneys provided key information about the recent immigration-related executive orders issued by the Trump Administration and discussed their implications for members of the Asian American community with different immigration statuses. 

Immigration attorneys Jane Lee and Shira Guttermann covered some of the recent developments in immigration law and policies that have happened since the Trump administration took office, offering important information and resources including "know your rights" materials.

Chin-Yin Shih, the senior program manager of AACS's Family Support Program, said what she found useful was the card distributed to the attendees that instructed them how to legally react to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers while protecting their own civil rights and liberties. For example, immigrants can refuse to sign documents presented by ICE or other government officials and should not sign anything without consulting their attorneys. The "know your rights" cards,* created and made available to the public by United We Dream, was printed for the event in four different languages, providing both clarification and convenience for those with limited English proficiency.

Attendees also had an opportunity to ask questions about the changes and voice their thoughts on how they can make their voices heard. Many expressed the need for more civic engagement, with some suggesting that everyone call their elected officials to ensure that the strong support that does exist for immigrant communities are recognized.

Ellen Short from Sen. Sherrod Brown's office visited the event to show support for the immigrant community in Ohio.

Multiple attendees expressed interest in continuing the conversation on issues that relate to attitudes towards immigrants and communities of color. General feedback from attendees were positive, with some offering concrete suggestions for further improvement.

According to Minghuizi Yi, an AACS volunteer and international student at The Ohio State University, many community members lack sufficient information on immigration matters and rights they have in this context as well as access to legal assistance through the institutions with which they are connected. Some attendees did not have the opportunity to ask questions due to limited time and the large number of people present, but both Ms. Lee and Ms. Guttermann, who donated their time for the event, stayed around to talk to those who wanted to connect with them individually.

In a post-event survey, one attendee specifically expressed interest in hearing more about employment-based visas and green cards "so that foreign people working or studying in universities or colleges can understand the related issues."

AACS is working to develop a follow-up event or series based on feedback from community members.

*United We Dream's "know your rights" cards can be downloaded onto your phone and other electronic devices from this link. The card is available in English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Spanish.
HAY Kids Get a Taste of OSU Campus with Big Buckeye, Lil' Buckeye

Big Buckeye, Lil' Buckeye program participants.

Kids aged 7-12 in our Health Asian Youth (HAY) Program are participating in the Big Buckeye, Lil' Buckeye program, a campus-based program at The Ohio State University which promotes their wellbeing and provides them opportunities to explore their future.

According to Franchesca Brown, the HAY Program Coordinator, the kids are able to spend their Saturdays once a month engaging in a variety of educational activities at the Multicultural Center, located at the Ohio Union.

Fifteen kids, mostly of Southeast Asian descent, have been participating in this program since January this year. The HAY participants are paired with OSU students on a potentially one-on-one basis. At February's meeting, the kids learned about Black History Month through a presentation given by the college students in the program.

The most exciting part of this meeting were the activities that grew out of the presentation. The kids learned about watercolors produced by famous black painters and had the opportunity to make their own art using heart clippings, which were aesthetically tied to Valentine's Day.

The exposure to a college campus and environment offered by Big Buckeye, Lil' Buckeye is particularly important for HAY participants, many of whom are Southeast Asian American. Despite the so-called "model minority" myth that hails Asians as an academically and economically successful minority group, significant inequalities exist within the Asian American community. In contrast to more visible Asian American groups, approximately 37.5% of Laotian, 38.5% of Cambodian, 30% of Vietnamese, and 38.3% of Hmong aged 25 and over did not have a high school diploma or equivalent in 2009.

"Basically, it's an educational but fun program," said Franchesca. "The kids get to experience the college environment and explore the campus. They have mentors to talk to about personal and academic information that is needed to go to college."
Volunteers Needed!!!

AACS is seeking volunteers!! To learn more about our programs and overview of volunteer opportunities, check out our website or contact Asafu Suzuki (
614-220-4023 x240,

To volunteer for our Healthy Asian Youth (HAY) program, please contact Franchesca Brown (216-732-1570,

If you are interested in volunteering for our Asian Festival booth or joining our team for this year's Dragon Boat Race, please contact Chin-Yin Shih (614-220-4023 x224,

AACS Dragon Boat Team in 2016.

Asian Festival 2016.