Thursday, May 17, 2012

Celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month: Returning the Kindness of Volunteers

written by Linh Le, staff contributor

Linh Le is of Asian Pacific Heritage and an involved member of our team!

My parents came to America hoping for simple luxuries such as education for my siblings and me and the chance to succeed. Growing up, I never wanted for anything because my parents worked so hard to provide everything I needed. I truly fit the “Asian stereotype” since my parents owned businesses like a nail salon, donut shop, laundry mat and dry cleaner. But none of that would have been possible with the generosity of volunteers.

Volunteers provided my family with a safe place to stay and guidance when they first emigrated from Vietnam to America. They helped shape opportunities for my family and to this day, my mom still talks about how lucky we were to have a nice family volunteer to help us.

“Thank you” barely begins to scratch the surface of how grateful I am to those who open their hearts so freely to help others. It is because of one kind stranger and his family that I had a fair chance at receiving an education and really fulfilling the American dream. It is something that I don’t take for granted knowing that my parents barely got an elementary education before being forced to drop out to help out their parents and family.

Through the American Red Cross, I have started learning about volunteer opportunities to help families and individuals in need, like others did for mine. This May, to celebrate Asian Pacific Heritage Month, I encourage any first generation Asian-Americans whose lives have been touched by the kindness of volunteers to lend a helping hand. To learn how you can start volunteering with the Red Cross, please visit

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