Thursday, October 1, 2009

NeighborWorks America Reaches Out to Vietnamese Community

NeighborWorks America supported a first-ever Vietnamese Community Leadership Institute (CLI) in Seattle in September. It was sponsored by NeighborWorks Community Building and Organizing Program, at the request of its member organization HomeSight, Inc. NeighborWorks sponsors national community leadership institutes each year, but this was the first time a NeighborWorks organization has held an in-language, culturally-based institute.

“Many local NeighborWorks organizations have created their own local CLI's upon return from one of our national events,” said Susan Naimark, acting director of NeighborWorks national CBO programs. “When Tony To, HomeSight's executive director, asked for support to do a bilingual CLI for the Vietnamese community, we were glad to offer our assistance.”

HomeSight hired one of NeighborWorks most seasoned community building and organizing trainers, Karimah Nonyameko, to work with a local Vietnamese trainer. This ensured the relevancy and cultural appropriateness of the training. Having the program in-language also made it a lot more personal for the people involved.

“I’ve been to a lot of leadership training in my line of work, but the VCLI gave me tools to reinforce my knowledge and it also renewed my passion to work in the community,” Thu-Van Nguyen, who works at Asian Counseling and Referral Services, told Northwest Vietnamese news.

“We look forward to sharing the materials and learnings from this event with other organizations across our network,” said Naimark.“It's a great model for working with non-English speaking communities, giving them tools to engage with each other and the broader community.”

View photos from the event.