BRANCH OF VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED IN PROJECT: Sisters of Charity – Halifax
NAME OF SYSTEMIC CHANGE PROJECT: Asian Center of Merrimack Valley
PROJECT ADDRESS: 1 Ballard Way, Lawrence, Ma. 01843
NAME OF CONTACT PERSON: Kaori S. Kelts, Executive Director
LENGTH OF TIME THE PROJECT HAS BEEN IN EXISTENCE: 23 years
PROJECT WEBSITE: www.asiancentermv.org
The project began in 1987 under the leadership of the Sisters of Charity, Boston Province. There were many Cambodians, South Vietnamese and Laotians coming to the Merrimack Valley especially to the cities of Lowell and Lawrence. The Asian Center enabled these refugees to move from a state of isolation and to take leadership in their own lives and community.
This Center has been developing for 23 years. It is now run by a board of directors and is financed by numerous grants from government and from foundations. It provides ESOL classes, citizen preparation classes, programs for preschools, summer school activities for children, immigrant classes, outreach efforts, programs for youth and elderly.
Project participants fill leadership roles with Vincentian family member serving as advisor. All leadership roles are now filled by members of the community. Many members of the Asian Community have been well educated and assumed responsible roles in the community, running their own businesses etc. They offer help to welcome newcomers.
Over the years the Asian Center worked to raise awareness of the needs of the new immigrants – for health care, for education, for jobs, for homes.
Sally McLaughlin, SC submitted this information.