HARRIS' HEROES

AALead helps low income Asian American students

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For most of the kids at AALead, English isn't the only language they speak fluently.

Many have parents who immigrated to the US and don't speak English.

So at AALead, they get help with their homework every day - as well as build leadership skills and embrace their cultures.

The program targets under-served and low-income Asian American students in D.C. and Montgomery County, from kindergarten thru 12th grade.

But it's open to any child in need.

“People have this model minority myth that Asians are doing well, wealthy and highly educated. While true for many in our community, not true for all,” says Surjeet Ahluwalia, executive director for AALead.

Ahluwalia says AALead focuses on four key missions: Academics, identity, responsible decision-making and giving back to the community.

“The ultimate goal is really to help our young people feel confident about who they are,” Ahluwalia says.

Now part of the program for three years, 9-year-old Jack says AALead is making a big difference in his life.

“I feel alive and I feel happy about myself,” Jack says.

For more, go to AALead's web site.

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