LIFE & Discovery, Inc., is entering a new phase in working to streamline services between government agencies, non-profit groups, community action and religious charitable organizations, and the communities we serve.
The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism has awarded LIFE & Discovery, Inc., with the AmeriCorps Planning Grant, funding to enable us to research the economic and social disparities faced by immigrants from Asian countries living in Frederick County. This grant will allow us to conduct the research to uncover where the challenges and disparities are in serving immigrant minority communities in Frederick, and develop the plan to meet those challenges and end those disparities.
The services to which we hope to facilitate access include:
- health care
- employment search assistance
- financial, legal, and housing counseling
- mental health therapy
- interpretive service
- and education (training and professional re-certification)
We believe that problems exist in two areas: first, some services are not accessible to the Asian immigrants due a sense of being overwhelmed by the processes involved, or by language issues, or by time or financial concerns; and second, many people remain unaware of the funded services that exist to provide support to the communities that need them.
To begin our feasibility study, we are going to send volunteers to do data collection. Researchers in your area may be coming around with surveys or to your place of worship to speak with religious leaders.
This planning grant is part of our process of becoming an AmeriCorps Service Site employing community members to be AmeriCorps members. They would work to coordinate services between the non-profit organizations, local government services, and the Asian communities whom they serve here in Frederick. We hope to get valuable information during this year to see if we can apply for an AmeriCorps operating program with ten or more AmeriCorps members in the future.
Our goal this year is to see where AmeriCorps members can best be utilized for the eventuality of becoming a service site.
Noor Jahan Begum holds a Master’s Degree in English Literature and completed her Master’s in Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. As a first generation in the USA, I have experienced the obstacles new immigrants face. Working with the New Americans Citizenship Project will provide me with a great opportunity to serve the immigrant communities and help them out to become productive members of this new world.
Francoise Makon received her Master’s of Law Degree from American University Washington College of Law, Washington, DC. As one of the Americorp staff at LIFE & Discovery, Ms. Makon serves as the Project Coordinator for the New Americans Citizenship Project of Maryland and the Project Manager for Human Services including health, education programs. She also served as the Chair of the 3rd Annual Asian Health Fair.
Hyun-Shin An serves as the Administrative Assistant and Director of Language Programs for LIFE & Discovery. Ms. An graduated from Chonnam National University in Korea and is currently studying management in the M.B.A. program at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Upon arriving at L&D she has worked for many providing services in the Asian community and reaching out to a diverse population at the city, county, and state level. In addition to her work with L&D, she volunteers as an interpreter for the Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS). To date, Ms. An has initiated a new educational program (Korean Language Classes) for the Frederick community.
Joel Minton is working on the AmeriCorps Planning Grant and developing our Chinese language program in Hagerstown. Joel is an ESOL teacher who has taught in China and Korea. He likes learning about languages and cultures of the world.