America has a long history of immigrants since the creation of the nation. People from around the world have since come to this country in the pursuit of a better life and happiness for not only themselves but also their family and friends. As we all know, however, the pursuits for the American Dream for many immigrants are not as smooth and glamorous as they desire. Specially, one of the major issues that Asian immigrants, especially in low- to middle-income
families, continue to face is language difference. This barrier is arguably the core hurdle that impedes ones from achieving their happiness, prosperity, social and cultural enjoyment as well as the valuable educational gifts for their children in the new communities.
Recognizing the common lack of motivation and empowerment especially in the Asian immigrant populations, we the students at Duke University founded the Alliance for Citizenship and Education of the Underresourced (ACE). Together, at ACE, we believe that everyone, with determination and resilience,
deserves a life with happiness, proper education, and a fulfilling citizenship. In particular, our mission includes but is not limited to:
- Helping individuals whose lack of proficiency in English may prevent and/or discourage them from participating in community activities and/or enjoying benefits and resources that are available to them by providing citizenship-related and professional development workshops as well as community-based gathering
- Helping their children and under-resourced youth, especially high school students, to self-develop and self-grow by providing practical educational and professional resources as well as effective support network to motivate them to obtain highest education possible and become a responsible and happy citizen.
- Promoting cultural and social awareness among Duke student population by providing meaningful opportunities for students to experience first-hand the struggles that today immigrants in the community have to face in their every-day life.
- Strengthening historical and social competency in the American student and immigrant populations through the interactive mean of discussion and tutorship.
Why ACE is Unique?
- Under the Whole-Family Approach, we focus on families of low- and middle-income population of Asian immigrants who do not speak English, and their children.
- We believe in long-term relationship between student volunteers and the community participants; thus, none of our programs is merely short-term, rather each program is complementary to the others
- We believe that happiness and education are the core catalyst for a happy and stable family, which in turn is the building block of a prosperous country. At ACE, we strongly believe in making small but meaningful impacts that could self-replicate in our community. Therefore, rather than providing passive assistance, we target the issue in a holistic manner by empowering both the parents and their children with necessary tools and practical knowledge that facilitate their self-development and self-fulfillment of happiness and success. Such empowerment may come in the form of assistance for the naturalization process, career and professional development to the adults, as well as mentorship and scholarship to the children.
- We provide sustainable and expansive long-term support with the aim of building a strong community-based network among participants.
- Our group is not a replicate of other existing possible groups; rather, it is a unique entity that learns and collaborates with existing groups for an improved implementation of practical methods and activities.
- We create an opportunity for Duke students to experience the life of “the others” in their community outside of Duke University through practical and meaningful programs in direct interaction with immigrants in the community, thereby fostering their appreciation of cultural and social diversity as well as strengthening their motivation and leadership commitment in the service of others.
For more information, please visit our website.