ACCESS names two education staff to expand services
By Ling-Mei Wong
The American Chinese Christian Education and Social Services agency named two directors to expand services for adult and children’s education.
Anna Fan is the ACCESS director of adult basic education, while Linda Liang is the director of children and families. Starting in 2012, they are the first full-time hires since February 1992, when founder Mei Kee Liu Wong was named executive director.
“We hope the agency has three full-time staff to lead it to the next phase,” said Executive Director Mei Kee Liu Wong.
ACCESS started with entry-level English classes for adults in 1992 and added after-school programs for children in 1993. While there were other English classes in Chinatown, the demand was so great that some classes had 18-month wait lists.
“We didn’t set our pricing lower than other agencies as we didn’t want to compete, but there was a huge need,” Wong said. “Many new immigrants can’t even take the T because they can’t read the names of the stops. There are many things we take for granted that are overwhelming for immigrants.”
For Fan, working at ACCESS was like coming home. “I ended up at ACCESS through an internship for three months and fell in love with the community, the faith-based program,” she said.
After being involved with the after-school program, Fan worked full-time at the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center for 10 years. She continued to volunteer at ACCESS in her spare time.
“I recognized I wanted to do more than teach or train people,” Fan said. “That ‘more’ was working with my faith and being a Christian in the community.”
Since her return in April 2012, Fan has enjoyed learning about her students and working with the staff.
“I’m very blessed with the way God is working here,” Fan said. “Students are opening up about their lives and we have the opportunity to share with them. My students want to have Bible study. All my teachers are wonderful staff — they really love our students.”
Liang stumbled upon ACCESS in March 2012. Before she started, she earned a doctorate in environmental engineering from Harvard University, completed her bachelor’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a postdoctoral candidate at MIT.
“It’s nice to not put on that hat now,” Liang said.
Before Liang started her doctoral program, she participated in City Year as a lark. She worked at the Josiah Quincy Upper School with former principal Bak Fun Wong, who is married to Mei Kee Liu Wong. Liang continued her graduate studies, but spent her free time volunteering with immigrant families.
“I like kids, I’ve always liked the immigrant or international community,” Liang said. “I really like the community in Chinatown a lot.”
When Liang needed a reference for ACCESS, Bak Fun Wong was all too happy to help. She enjoyed the holistic approach ACCESS takes, from academic programs to emotional resources for families.
“I like to be where God wants me to be,” Liang said.
Liang and Fan work closely with Mei Kee Liu Wong, who is a trained counselor. Despite their different backgrounds, they share one purpose.
“As believers, we know a real God who cares for us. He has the power to help us,” said Mei Kee Liu Wong. “We want to tell others about him because he is the single biggest blessing in our lives.”
This post is also available in: Chinese