Chinese Lunar New Year      
February 2016

In This Issue


AACS will be closed on Level 2 snowstorm days as declared by Franklin County Municipality.


Chinese New Year
February, 8 2016

Festive fact:
2016 is the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese 12-animal cycle. People born in a monkey year are said to be intelligent, curious and mischievous.

A little history
A legend says that Chinese New Year began with a beast called the Nian, who would come to villages and eat children. But people learned that the Nian feared the color red, hence the prevalence of that hue in New Year celebrations.

Food stuff
Dumplings are a traditional New Year food because they resemble an old form of Chinese money formed from silver or gold ingots. Therefore they are a symbol of prosperity.

Source: Columbus Dispatch


Apply for LAT or LEAF Trainings

South East Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society.
SEARAC is committed to a vision of building strong communities overall with a focus on increasing the capacity of underserved communities to engage in social justice work.  We believe that civically engaged communities, coupled with healthy community-based organizations connected to strategies for community empowerment through organizing, will strengthen American society overall. Our Training and Technical Assistance Program and annual Leadership and Advocacy Training were developed with these goals in mind. 

Both LAT and LEAF trainings will be held in Washington, DC, but during different times of the year. You may only apply for one of the trainings. Accepted participants to either training must participate in all pre-training sessions and workshops during the training.
SEARAC will cover the majority of travel and lodging expenses for accepted applicants living outside of the Washington, DC area, but participants may be responsible for a portion of their travel costs.
Expected Dates
LAT dates: June 18 - 24, 2016
LEAF dates: September 24 - 30, 2016

All Applications Due
Monday February 29, 2016 (deadline extended)

For more information:

Asian Free Clinic

Every Monday, 5:30p.m - 9:00p.m
2231 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio
By Appointment Only
The Asian Health Initiative is a collaborative community project that seeks to improve the health of the medically underserved Asian population in central Ohio by providing culturally and linguistically competent services. Our goals are to improve access to health care, assist in maintaining good health, and to promote health screenings in the Asian community.
For more information, contact Chin-Yin Shih at or 614-220-4023 x 224.

Asian Free Clinic Website


AACS Community Engagement Study Group

The Family Support Program is hosting a multi-week community engagement study group on Interpersonal Violence  and Healthy Relationships in the Asian and Pacific Islander community. The group would meet once a week for about one month for a guided discussions and activities on topics related to sexual assault, intimate partner/ domestic violence, elder/child abuse, and human trafficking in the API community.

If you are interested in participating in the study group, please contact  Kelly Hill at by March 1.

International Women's Day Event
Discussion with tea 

March 8th, 2016
6:00-8:00 PM

(Short North)
Zen Cha Tea Salon
982 N High Street
Columbus, OH 43201

Join AACS for tea on International Women's Day. The event will include tea, a brief discussion,
and updates on our new
Women's Wellness program.

If you are interested in joining us for this event, please RSVP by contacting Kelly Hill at

Movie Screening with AACS
March 26, 2016
Location TBA

"American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs" is a documentary about Detroit philosopher/activist Grace Lee Boggs, 97, whose life and work has encompassed the major U.S. social movements of the past century: radical labor, civil rights, feminism, Asian American, environmental justice, and beyond. More than just a biography, the film will explore how this daughter of Chinese immigrants born in 1915 could evolve both as a revolutionary philosopher and a movement activist during a century rife with social and political upheaval.

Women's Wellness Group

Every Friday
12:30 pm- 3:30 pm
4700 Reed Road, Suite B
Upper Arlington, OH 43220

The AACS Women's Wellness Group seeks to empower women through self-reflection, building relationships and creating community connections. The Women's Wellness Group is FREE and open to women of all ages.


Asians, Anti-Blackness, and Accountability

Does anti-Blackness exist in the Asian American & Pacific Islander community? How do we each personally perpetuate it within our own lives? In what ways can we disrupt our own biases and learn to be accountable for the anti-Blackness that occurs in our own racial community? Join AAA for a discussion on how we can work to build solidarity between communities of color.

6:00 PM

Asian American Association at The Ohio State University
1739 N High St, Columbus, Ohio 43210

24-Hour Human Trafficking Hotlines
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRC):


From the Executive Director

Happy Lunar New Year!
Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated holidays of the Chinese community. Also known as Spring Festival, the holiday is a family affair. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. According to Chinese tradition, 2016 will be influenced by characteristics of the monkey, including optimism, motivation, cleverness, inventiveness, playfulness, and curiosity.
Here at AACS, we want to uplift one of our programs which in many ways exemplify the spirit of the Year of the Monkey: the Healthy Asian Youth (HAY) program. For over 15 years, the HAY has inspired curiosity, motivation and inventiveness among the API youth in Columbus neighborhoods.  Our program director Danny Nam also exemplifies the spirit of the monkey in many ways: creativity, youthful energy, and steadfast optimism in our youth.  We welcome you to celebrate with us the joy and achievements of this program, and many others at AACS! 
We also want to extend our greatest condolences to the people of Tainan City, Taiwan following the tragic earthquake last Saturday. Tainan has a special place in our hearts at AACS, given its designation as a "sister" city of Columbus. The Board of Commissioners, along with the City of Columbus, the Columbus Foundation and the Greater Columbus Sister Cities International, Inc. has created a special fund that will support Give2Asia to meet the humanitarian needs of those affected by the earthquake.  
Please visit this link to learn more about the Tainan Disaster Relief Fund at Columbus Foundation.


Healthy Asian Youth (HAY) Program


How long has the HAY program existed?

The HAY program has been providing culturally appropriate after school and summer programming for Asian immigrant and refugee youth for over 16 years, since 2000.


What communities does the HAY Program serve?

The HAY program serves youth in two separate locations: West Side of Columbus (eg. Hilltop and Franklinton neighborhoods) and Upper Arlington. The majority of the youth attending the HAY program on the West Side are from low-income Cambodian refugee families. HAY also provides afterschool programming for Asian immigrant and Asian American youth living in the Upper Arlington neighborhood.


What is the community need for the HAY Program?

The Cambodian refugee community in the West Side of Columbus is among the most
socioeconomically marginalized in Columbus. There is a significant need in this community, specifically in education, mental health, and accessibility to resources. The youth in this community have low high school education attainment rates, and are vulnerable to a fast growing Asian gang culture (eg. the Tiny Rascal Gang).

Many parents of HAY youth suffer post-traumatic stress from experiences with the Khmer Rouge genocide, during which nearly 2 million Cambodians were targeted and killed, including relatives of HAY parents. Many refugees experienced torture, malnutrition, and disease while under the regime, leaving them wounded and/or disfigured. The regime prohibited education and executed anybody deemed as an intellectual, leaving many refugees, including the parents of HAY youth illiterate. As a result, Khmer Rouge survivors often experience a wide range of post-traumatic symptoms, including panic attacks, sleep paralysis, startle syndrome, sleeplessness, nightmares, and prolonged grief, among others.


What does the HAY program provide for its students?

The HAY program provides educational and personal growth programming for youth throughout the school year and summer break. Curriculum for grades K-6 focuses on reading and writing, health and physical education, multiculturalism and tolerance, science, and mathematics. Curriculum for grades 7-12 focuses on violence prevention, leadership development, post-graduation planning, and life skills. One-on-one tutoring and mentorship is also provided by college student and young professional volunteers.  

I nterview with HAY Program Manager
Danny Nam

Hometown: Korea, California, Florida
Years with the Program: 8 years
(Volunteer 2008-2010, Manager 2010-2016)

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I am a Korean American who was born in the United States, but grew up in South Korea. I also have roots in California and Florida, among other places. I am an Ohio State University graduate and currently the Program Manager of the Healthy Asian Youth Afterschool and Summer Program. But all of that aside, I am a father, community member, and leader in this movement to empower ourselves as minorities and marginalized people.  

How long have you been with the Hay Program?
I began volunteering for the HAY program in 2007, and became the Program Manager in 2010. Altogether, I've been with the HAY kids for 8 years; many of my kids grew up in the program with me.

What made you choose HAY program as your line of work?
I've always had a passion for working with children, especially those who are faced with hardship and come from forgotten communities. As a youth, I had experiences with gangs, violence, academic failure, and other symptoms of a community in need, and nearly lost my life in the process. I always knew that once I grew up and got myself together, I would help others with similar challenges, instead of selling out and leaving everybody else behind. So, I got my Bachelor's in two years and took over the program when everybody quit, following the economic recession. Little did I know that with the help of other community members, from parents to kids, funders to volunteers, professionals to gang members, we'd build a program that now serves over 120 kids annually. We make so much noise, from being featured on television and in magazines, receiving awards at the statehouse, to winning state writing contests and performing breakdancing shows around the city. We still struggle, but we have love and solidarity in one another, and we all believe in the HAY family. As of now, I know that we can't be stopped.

What skills do you need to be a good HAY Program volunteer?
Being a volunteer means more than having a college degree or possessing a particular set of skills. Volunteering requires passion, dedication, and lots of patience. Without your heart in the right place, it's hard to make much of a difference; it's impossible to serve without empathy and genuine care for the community. Dedication is just as important, because teaching a child a math concept or building a relationship with him or her takes a lot of time and effort. There are plenty of days when the losses pile up and outweigh the benefits of doing your work; you have to check yourself during those moments, remind yourself that the kids are always worth it, and get up to face the madness. Patience is also key, because there is always a level of frustration when working with large groups of young people with few resources, let alone the things you can't control that happen in the neighborhood. But I will tell you this: everyone has the capacity to serve, and everyone has gifts that can be of great value to the kids. Come with your heart in the right place, and doors will open up for you. I promise that if you do, you will receive as much, if not more than you gave the kids, our kids.

HAY (Healthy Asian Youth) in Action 
The HAY Mentoring Fun Day took place on January 30th at the Ohio State Recreation and Physical Activity Center. The "Hungry Asian Youngstaz" (HAY bboy crew) performed at the event in front of roughly 300 participants. Each child was paired with a mentor to spend the day with playing sports (e.g., basketball, football, volleyball), doing arts and crafts, and engaging in other fun activities (e.g., photo booth, karaoke).

Korean Culture Show 2016 at OSU