Senior residents enjoy a game of mah jong. Photo by Henry Liu.

We are the only organization in the CID that gives workshops in the places where our residents live and in the languages our residents speak. Without these programs the disparities that plague our community will continue to negatively impact those who live and work in the CID. Active for nearly two years, the Set for Success program aims to answer the one question we’ve all been thinking for quite some time: how do we bring the people of this community closer and how do we ensure health and wellbeing of the community?

Answering this question has a lot to do with the way we work; being human-centered and understanding the nature of what people value and how they function. So, our method of delivering this work follows a flurry of activities planned out daily in areas of the CID neighborhood that is accessible to senior residents and provides a stronger presence of people that can be more widely acknowledged. These activities serve as a platform for educational purposes focused on health, nutrition, financial empowerment, civic engagement, and English; however, the greatest achievement for us in hosting these activities is to simply provide a space where people can just come together to network , socialize and increase access to information.

Together with our partners, InterIm CDA provides the following activities through our Resident Services Program:

Health literacy: Workshops for residents to learn more about the diseases that affect them; diabetes, asthma, cancer and women’s health. The goal of the program is not only to give our clients knowledge, but to have them find their own solutions to improve their health. Approximately 500 duplicated individuals have attended one or more workshop.

Wellbeing and nutrition: From Tai Chi to hands-on meal preparation, residents design and organize activities that enhance their well-being and build strong relationships with their neighbors. Approximately 450 duplicated individuals have come out of isolation and attended one or more activity.

Financial literacy: Many of our residents are unfamiliar with basic money management consequently, they are vulnerable to fraud and predatory lenders which traditionally target non-English-speaking immigrant and refugee communities. 200 duplicated individuals have attended classes on budgeting, credit, savings, recognizing fraud, and more.

Civic Engagement: Crime has further isolated a population already disenfranchised by language, lack of acculturation, and poverty. The 2017 Chinatown-International District Public Safety Survey revealed that fear of deportation and racial profiling stops many of our community members from reporting crimes. It is only through targeted civic engagement education like know your rights workshops that the fear can be addressed.
Approximately 500 duplicated individuals have attended one or more workshop.

ESL: For refugee and immigrants English is the largest barrier. Without English proficiency it is so difficult to find a job and parents cannot understand letters or phone calls from school. With English can parents to take an advocacy role in their children’s education and our community can begin to thrive, not just survive. We have provided approximately 470 duplicated individuals with ESL classes.

To name a few of our community-favorites: Mahjong, Taichi, and ping pong has proven to not only bring out residents from their home, but also bring out the best in them with a smile. Other activities that we provide include cooking parties at the International District Chinatown Community Center, full-body P90X type-of-exercise for seniors, hot but not so hot yoga at Hirabayashi Place, and classic movie showings with letter assistance at International House. In designing these activities to ensure that it is welcoming to all, the most important ingredient was acknowledging the huge diversity in age and ethnicity of this community.

Started in the CID and now we’re growing with the Cham, specifically Cham Refugee Community. With deep roots in the CID, we are expanding our network and growing our relationship with people who face similar struggles so we can battle them together.

Coming back to question of how we bring the people of this community closer and livelier together, our blueprint lies in the happiness of each and every individual.

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