Video from AAAYA’s Southern California Day of Service site

2011 marked the third straight year that AAAYA participated in Yale’s Global Day of Service! On May 14, volunteers in Chicago, New York, Northern California, and Southern California did everything from plant flowers to sort clothes donations and even helped put on a benefit concert with the Yale Glee Club and Dukes Men!

It’s an impressive and inspiring showing of commitment to our communities. Thanks to the dozens of volunteers who showed up at our sites and the organizers who worked so hard to create these opportunities.

CHICAGO

Site: Chinatown, Chicago

Coordinator: Tiffany Co

Despite the weather not cooperating (it was 46 degrees and raining), we had 32 Yalies and guests participating in the 2011 Yale Day of Service co-sponsored by AAAYA Chicago and the Yale Club of Chicago. Working alongside our collaborator, the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, we joined forces to kick-off the Beautification of Chinatown campaign in Chicago. The day started with short and inspirational speeches to kick off the event, including thoughts from Commissioner John Daley and Chairman of the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce Dominic Lai. Our group managed to plant all the flowers in various flower beds around Chinatown in 1.5 hours! We then proceeded to pick up garbage on the streets of Chinatown. Our turnout and efficiency impressed the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. They said our group finished the planting in record time!

AAAYA Chicago (thanks to Gene Lee) also sponsored a BBQ that day as a post-Yale Day of Service get-together. Originally, the BBQ was held at the park at Lake Point Tower, but we decided to move it indoors given the cold and windy weather. We enjoyed delicious food, such as Korean kalbi, thanks to the grilling expertise of AAAYA members Gene Lee and Max Mong. AAAYA Chicago would like to thank everyone who participated on the Yale Day of Service. Not only did we give back to the community, a great time was had by all at both events!

NEW YORK CITY

Site: Yung Wing, P.S. 124, Chinatown, New York City

Coordinator: Rocky Chin

AAAYA’s NY Chapter organized 17 volunteers for the “Yale Day of Service” at PS 124 – the Yung Wing School in Chinatown. Six Yale alumni participated in the morning shift and ten Yale alumni (and partners of alumni) joined us in the afternoon. AAAYA New York has worked at the Yung Wing School as gardeners since 2008, and we now take pride in the flower garden and the small vegetable patch just under the Manhattan Bridge foot path. The afternoon service crew took on a massive sorting job in the upstairs alcove library and in the basement of the school. We had a crack team of super-organized volunteers unpacking and re-organizing supplies.

As always, Principal Alice Hom supported our work and made the time pass quickly. We learned that the school’s 9 and 10 years olds beat Stuyvesant High School’s (a reputable public high school in NYC) chess team to garner the National Chess Finals! There are many talented students at Yung Wing (who by the way was the first Chinese to graduate from a western university—Yale!). Of course, Kunduck Moon—our resident green thumb—drove down from Connecticut and arrived in Chinatown at 7 a.m. (a bit before even super-principal Alice Hom). Kunduck took advantage of the extra time and enjoyed a nice bowl of noodles on Division Street…and made sure to pick up a souvenir for his wife—a roast duck!

Thanks to all the volunteers today: Kunduck Moon, Jai Chandrasekhar, Tonny Ho, Michael Duddy, Julie Huang, Ravi Rajan, Jamerry Kim, Trish Takemoto, Jim, Marissa Ain, Marisa Reisman, Eric Tam, Danica Chen, Pam Shen and Betty Yip. Beatrice Chen and Neal Lin were not able to make it (Beatrice was called away to work).

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

(L-R): AAAYA-Angel Island Team: Robert Stevenson '94 ES, Wayne Lew '72 TC, Carol Mimura '79 BK, Grant Din '79 BR, Camille Lew, Joan Young '01 M. Arch, Christopher Park, Mary Lau '89 CC

Sites: Angel Island, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, SF Bank, Yale Ant-Bullying Benefit Concert with Glee’s Darren Criss

Coordinator: Julie Wong

From helping preserve the historic Angel Island Immigration Station to helping those in need in today’s Asian American community…from packing thousands of pounds of pasta at the SF Food Bank to what seemed like thousands of fans screaming their noodles off at the Yale Glee Club’s Anti-Bullying Benefit Concert with Glee’s Darren Criss, NorCal AAAYA members made a difference at the 2011 Yale Day of Service! This was a “seed year” for NorCal AAAYA with a small but committed group volunteering at two AAAYA sites and also other Yale sites throughout the Bay Area. It was also a family affair, with many alumni volunteering with their children and spouses. We’re looking forward to extending the Yale Day of Service beyond one day and continuing to grow a relationship supporting these two AAAYA sites throughout the year and making the Yale Day of Service at these two sites annual events.

Joan Young '01 M.Arch, Christopher Park and Camille Lew loading debris onto wheelbarrow

Site: Return to Angel Island

Coordinator: Wayne Lew and, daughter, Camille Lew

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act infamously became the first and only time that the United States government ever specifically banned immigration based on race or country of origin. The heartbreak, pride, rage, and shame of those detained at Angel Island are carved into the very walls of the Immigration Station. This is the second time AAAYA has had a Day of Service site at Angel Island.

Six Yalies and two friends of Yalies participated in this year’s Yale Day of Service by doing spring cleaning and landscaping maintenance at the U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island State Park. Catching the 10 a.m. ferry from Tiburon and a minivan ride to get to the immigration station, the group was quickly tasked with dusting and cleaning the exhibition rooms of this registered National Historic Landmark and sweeping and clearing debris (such as, droppings from geese, fallen fronds and bark from palm trees, errant decomposed granite pebbles) from the exterior pathways and grassy lawns around the buildings.

Grant Din ’79 BR headed this effort and was assisted by Wayne Lew ’72 TC. After the clean-up, a state park ranger led the group on a private tour of the buildings that historically housed the mostly Chinese detainees, who were questioned for months on end to qualify for immigration into the United States during the early part of the 20th Century when the Chinese Exclusion was extant. The day was cool and blustery with intermittent clouds, but the outing on this island in the middle of San Francisco Bay was affirmed by all who participated as an eminently worthwhile workout with great views. This Day of Service activity was organized by the Association of Asian American Yale Alumni and co-sponsored by the Yale Club of San Francisco, which provided the group with t-shorts commemorating the event.

New San Jose Site: Asian Americans for Community Involvement

Coordinator: Mu Young Lee

AAAYA-AACI team. L-R: Brenda Lee, Lanae Chang, Harry Chang, Hamsa Murthy, and Mu Young Lee

Asian Americans for Community Involvement is a community services organization based in San Jose with a 38 year history. It oversees a broad range of programs including the operation of a medical center, providing counseling services, tutoring of students, recovery programs for substance abuse and senior wellness activities. This year AAAYA-Norcal and the Yale Club of Silicon Valley sponsored a Day of Service event in support of AACI’s family services programs. Yale alumni volunteers and family members spent the afternoon sorting, separating, and labeling of household goods in a storage facility which contains donated items for families in need who are clients in AACI’s support programs. We’re looking forward to working with AACI for future events. It was great to have an opportunity to not only serve our community but also be involved with an organization that is led by its president and CEO Michele Lew (Yale College 1992) who came by the work site to thank the volunteers on Saturday.

Helping at the Food Bank, assembly line style (Eva Yin '09, Evelyn/Jeremy/Max Chai---spouse/sons of Michael Chai '84,IMG_1190.jpg: Michael Chai '84 with his sons, Max and Jeremy

Site: SF Food Bank

Coordinator: Mike Chai and family

Many AAAYA NorCal members volunteered at six sites all over the Bay Area organized by Daniel Vu and Lata Prabhakar from the Yale Club of San Francisco. Michael Chai and his family volunteered at one of the most popular site, the SF Food Bank and sent in these comments: We had a fun time at the SF Food Bank this weekend. All told, the combined Yale & Stanford volunteers (50-60 people total) packed over 10,000 lbs of food in three hours!

Site: Yale Ant-Bullying Benefit Concert with Glee’s Darren Criss

Coordinators: Emilie and Marc Robert Wong, Julia Lu

Under the fabulous direction of Moving Theater Company founders, Ryan Kelly and Brennan Gerard, and organizers extraordinaire, Mark Dollhopf, Exec Dir of AYA, Mickey Dobbs, AYA Dir Major Cities, and stage manager, Thomas Dolan, AAAYA and other Yale alumni volunteers helped out at a fantastic benefit concert featuring the Yale Glee Club, SF Girls Choir Alumnae Chorus, the Duke’s Men, and Glee’s Darren Criss.

A broad range of groups came together for this gala event sponsored by the Assn of Yale Alumni with Eli’s Mishpacha, Yale’s Jewish Alumni Group, and Yale GALA, Yale’s LGBT Alumni Assn with support from the Yale Club of San Francisco, the Yale Club of Silicon Valley, the Yale Latino Alumni Assn, Yale Black Alumni Assn, and AAAYA, the Assn of Asian American Yale Alumni, and USNA Out.

Members of the Duke's Men and Yale Glee Club

The concert benefited “No Bullies” and “YouthAware”, two organizations promoting a message of tolerance and compassion among Bay Area schools. Neither last minute flash floods on stage nor dealing with the amateur backstage help from Vice Chair, AYA Board of Governors, Jimmy Lu and his daughter, Julia, and AAAYA NorCal president, Julie Wong and her children, Emilie and Marc Robert Wong, could prevent the Yale Glee Club from raising the roof with its powerful rendition of “Anchored in the Lord.” The Duke’s Men stole the show with the best number of the night (sorry, Darren, but we call it like we see it!), a sexy vocal and dance version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” When Darren Criss joined Da Doox singing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” the average age of the audience seemed to drop by at least 30 years, and tween screams resounded!!! After an intimate set which showed Darren’s range and versatility, Glees knew that it was “Anthem” time, when the show closed with all the singers joining together to send the audience home with a message of love and hope: no matter what the slurpee throwers say, you are “Not Alone.”

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

Site: Children’s Day Celebration with at JACCC (Japanese American Cultural and Community Center)

Coordinator: Azan Kung

The 28th Annual Children’s Day Celebration was sponsored by JACCC (Japanese American Cultural and Community Center). Many of the events were geared toward Japan Aid Relief. Think of a carnival atmosphere of Japanese crafts, food, and performances.

Yale volunteers from AAAYA and the Yale Club of Southern California arrived between 7:00AM and 7:30 AM. We helped with crowd control, maintained race routes, and vigorously cheered for the Chibi-K Kids Fun Run—the event that kicked off the day’s festivities. We combined the volunteering with two social gatherings—breakfast at Azan Kung’s house and lunch at a nearby Japanese restaurant. We have decided that next year we will need someone to wear a Yale Bulldog costume to run along with the kids. I nominate Larry Ng.