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Immigrant Youth Connie Xu Prepares Chinese Community for Disaster
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By Caitlin Cobb, Marketing/PR Intern, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
 
July 15, 2009
For San Francisco volunteer Connie Xu, preparedness is not only something that the younger generation should have knowledge of, but it is vital for all generations to be educated about how to be prepared for a disaster.
 
Xu immigrated to the United States at the age of 10, learned English in school, and now dedicates her time to helping senior members of the Chinese community learn about disaster preparedness and how to react in case of an emergency.
 
Xu is part of a Red Cross Youth for Chinese Elderly club, an organization that is devoted to educating the older generation of the Chinese community. Members of YCE clubs include students from nine high schools in the area, and each school is assigned to one senior building that they visit each month. This project is the Adopt-A-Senior-Building project, whose goal is to educate senior citizens on how to be prepared in case of an emergency.
 
“We go to the senior building and teach them preparedness information,” Xu says. “When I go to the senior building to talk with the seniors, I speak to them in Cantonese.”
 
Xu first got involved with the Red Cross through the club at her high school, and immediately felt comfortable approaching and building relationships with other YCE members. One of her favorite parts of volunteering is that she is able to become involved in community service with her friends. After learning about the YCE club at her school, Xu felt that she could really make a difference and help people in the community.
 
“I think my favorite part of YCE is going out on projects with a group of friends and volunteering together,” Xu said. “When we go to events together we have one common goal: to serve the community – we have a lot of fun but at the same time we are helping other people.”
 
In addition to working at the senior centers, YCE volunteers often sets up a booth in local street fairs, in order to pass out brochures to members of the community about disaster preparedness. Since the Chinese community is limited in their knowledge of the English language, Xu explained it is crucial to explain preparedness information to them in their native language.

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