By Ling-Mei Wong
The Asian American Civic Association (AACA) recognized outstanding students and community leaders at its annual gala “Their Courage to be New” on June 4 at the Park Plaza.
AACA provides English courses and job training. English student Pei Xia “Peggie” Kuang, received the Richard & Susan Smith Family Foundation College Achievement Award. The Chinese immigrant completed two years of English classes and will study accounting in September. She aspires to be a teacher after she has earned her degree.
“Before I came to this program, I was confused and depressed because I had an accident after separating with my husband,” Kuang said. “I am so lucky to have excellent teachers, advisors and supporters at AACA to support me.”
Building Energy Efficient Maintenance Skills (BEEMS) program graduate Robert Brown received the George A. Russell Jr. Career Advancement Award. The Mattapan resident did jail time, but turned his life around with his newly acquired maintenance skills.
“My life had strayed and I was ready to put in back together and work hard to provide for my wife and three children and have some personal pride,” Brown said. “From the first moment I met the staff at AACA, I knew that I had come to a place that saw my future and would not dwell on my past.”
Community Service Awards were presented to Ron Druker, president of The Druker Company and Paul Lee, of counsel at Goodwin Procter.
The gala was hosted by WCVB anchor Susan Wornick, with a lion dance by the Wah Lum Kung Fu Athletic Association and Tai Chi Academy and live musical performances from Moroccan and South African artists. A film “AACA Faces” by director Mandy Chen was screened, featuring AACA staff, students and clients.
The AACA provides all immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals with education, occupational training, and social services, enabling them to realize lasting economic self-sufficiency.
This post is also available in: Chinese