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In the summer of 2003, the Bay Area Chapter of American Red Cross underwent a restructuring. The Youth for Chinatown Elderly Program (YCE) and the entire Youth Services Department merged with Community Preparedness Services to become the Preparedness and Youth Services Department. However, the mission of YCE has not changed. YCE volunteers are always ready to go help each generation of the Chinese community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

To prepare the elderly to be safe at home during an earthquake, YCE youth volunteers organized a non-structural mitigation project for senior tenants on April 16, 2019 (the National Youth Service Day) at St. Claire's, a residential building. The Tenants' Services Department of Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and especially Susan Cheung, property manager, enthusiastically supported this activity. Instructor Jonathan Dann trained the youth volunteers to install safety latches on kitchen cabinets as well as on other mitigation skills. This year, YCE youth volunteers also trained 520 Chinese new immigrant students in three schools and 80 Chinese-speaking seniors and adults in five community centers on the "Together We Prepare" curriculum in Chinese. This was made possible because 18 YCE Preparedness Youth Leaders were trained by AmeriCorps staff members Dana Cairns, Florence Chien, Megan Duffy, and Monica Froman. The YCE youth leaders have committed themselves to continue educating the Chinese immigrant population on disaster preparedness in the coming year.

Besides the three high schools (Newcomer High School, Galileo Academy and Lincoln High School) where the YCE program has been established, a Red Cross YCE Club was also founded at Balboa High School this year. The club was initiated by a few immigrant Chinese students from the school who felt the need to mobilize new immigrant Chinese students to serve the community. Under the guidance of the YCE Program Manager, five youth leaders -- Kevin Lin, Jason Ma, Man Kit Yan, Chacy Ou and HuiQiang Huang -- formed a new YCE club at Balboa High School with 20 founding members. Through joint activities and a leadership retreat with other YCE club leaders, these new leaders learned how to lead the club and carry out the YCE mission. The YCE program at Galileo Academy also transformed into an YCE Club this year to allow for more leadership development for the officers. A total of 144 active YCE youth volunteers were trained this year (Newcomer 50, Galileo 44, Lincoln 30 and Balboa 20).

The Mabel L. Gee Trust Fund enabled 7 YCE youth volunteers from three schools to attend the ARCBA Leadership Development Center (LDC) at Mills College in August 2003. Those 7 youth LDC graduates have become the youth leaders of their school YCE clubs. The same fund allowed 3 youth leaders from Lincoln High School YCE Club (Kimmie Li, Brian Xia and Shannon Zeng) to attend the January 2004 California State Conference in Los Angeles. To prepare for the 2005 American Red Cross National Convention in San Francisco, 7 YCE youth leaders -- Kimmie Li and Brian Xia from Lincoln YCE; Chacy Ou and Lily Zhu from Balboa YCE; and Jenny Guan, Emily Liang and Christina Zeng from Galileo YCE -- were selected to attend the National Convention in May, 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri. The three delegates from Galileo YCE received scholarships from the School Safety Initiative (SSI) Pilot Project from National Headquarters, while the other delegates received grants from the Mabel L. Gee Trust Fund.

The YCE youth volunteers had continually provided a multitude of services to the community in this past year. They served more than 19,145 individuals at 122 community events. These activities included paying home visits to elderly partners; serving meals in senior centers; and helping at street fairs, health fairs and safety fairs through translation work and logistical assistance. These youth volunteers, wearing the Red Cross jackets, were familiar to the public when they appeared at the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Fair at Portsmouth Square and the Chinatown Community Health Fair at the Cameron House. They also helped direct traffic and handed out preparedness materials on the streets of Chinatown during the Moon Festival Street Fair. They alerted pedestrians and bus riders to be aware of pickpockets at the Chinese New Year Flower Market Street Fair. Forty-three youth represented ARCBA at the Chinese New Year Parade in February (the Year of the Monkey), marking ARCBA's participation in the parade for the first time. They not only marched, but they also brought the "Together We Prepare" message to an estimated audience of 1.5 million. Thirty-one YCE youth volunteers played important roles at the San Francisco site for CPR & Preparedness Saturday in March. They registered and directed students, issued certificates, loaded and unloaded manikins, and set up and closed down the site. Because of their language capabilities, they performed exceptionally in helping students in the Chinese training classes. All of the community service projects were partly initiated and organized by the youth. These projects were made possible through strong partnerships with other service providers such as the Asian Perinatal Advocates Family Support Center, Asian Women's Resource Center, the Central District Station of the San Francisco Police Department, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Chinatown Merchants Association, Little Brothers' & Friends of Elderly, NICOS Chinese Health Coalition, On Lok Senior Service Center, the San Francisco Health Plan, San Francisco Safety Partnership, San Francisco S.A.F.E., Inc., and Self-help for the Elderly.

In addition to participating in fundraising activities at their schools, YCE youth volunteers helped outreach to merchants for donations in December 2003 to fund the Winter Festival Celebration Party for elders, and in May 2004 to fund the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. They also organized a Golden Gate Bridge Walkathon during their April 2004 Spring Break with all youth volunteers participating to raise funds for a summer picnic for their elderly partners.

Chacy Ou, the treasurer of the Balboa YCE Club, was the winner of the YCE group in the ARCBA 2004 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Youth Diversity Expression Contest and she recited her essay in front of an audience of 300 at the MLK Celebration of Diversity event in January, 2004. Because of her community service and leadership to the YCE program, Celia Yu (Lincoln High School YCE Club President) won the TACT scholarship to continue her studies at U.C. Riverside after high school graduation in May, 2004.

The YCE program achieved many accomplishments this year. It met community needs for leadership development for the Chinese immigrant youths, preparing for the Chinese community in facing and dealing with emergencies, and paying care and concern to elders. All of these accomplishments would not be possible if we did not have consistent support from the many YCE adult volunteers such as Michael Wong, Sarah Wan, Alton Lee, Seagull Chan, Charles Lam, Judy Kuang, Rosa Wong-Chie, Irene Li, Yun Man Lee, Emerson Chin, Joyce Lee-Jeong and Wei Chui. Their spirit of "Be Ready Go!" stimulates youth volunteers to be more energetic and better prepared to serve all people, all the time.

For more information, or if you are interested in making a donation to YCE, please contact Rita Wong at wongr@usa.redcross.org, or call (415) 427-8077.

Community Preparedness Services | Youth Services


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