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Project “SHINE”: Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders

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photocredit_shinephoto credit Project SHINE

“When I first came to America, I only knew a couple letters.  I couldn't communicate with anybody.  And I learned about this program and I started (to learn English).  I have been here for three years and now I have built a basic vocabulary that I can carry my daily life.  It basically helped me to live in America." -Project SHINE participant

In the early 1980s, Nancy Henkin, founder and director of the Intergenerational Center at Temple University, was shocked by the news that loneliness and social isolation led an elderly Asian woman to commit suicide, at a time when it was commonly assumed that older immigrants were part of tight-knit and supportive communities. Henkin realized that older immigrants often struggle with language barriers, changes in customs, and differences in social roles more than their younger counterparts, and began working to establish a program that could support them.  Project SHINE was launched in 1985, to reach out and provide aging immigrants with language and cultural resources to help them adapt in their new community. 

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A Blueprint for Change: Diversity as a Civic Asset

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blueprint_cover_onlineThis report is  a framework for a general understanding of Asian American concerns and opportunities to include them in broader civic dialogue. It is designed for local leaders and civic groups on how they can build their infrastructure and leadership around this issue. Click here to download report.

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Lifelong Involvement for Vital Elders (LIVE)

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photo_credit_livephoto credit LIVENorthern New Jersey’s LIVE (Lifelong Involvement for Vital Elders), an initiative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest New Jersey (UJC), works with local leaders to make the communities it serves better places in which to grow older. LIVE organizes recreational activities and personal-development programs that help older adults stay active and involved in their communities, thereby helping them to age in place and continue to contribute to their communities well into their older years. The activities offered by LIVE include yoga, Tai Chi, walking clubs, health workshops, and employment counseling. While LIVE is led by United Jewish Communities, it encourages participation from seniors of all ages and backgrounds.

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Deeply Rooted Dance Theater

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photo_credit_deeplyrootedproductionsphoto credit Deeply Rooted Productions

Founded in 1995 by dancers Kevin Iega Jeff and Gary Abbott, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater teaches and performs dance as creative expression and community and spiritual healing. Jeff calls it “world class art from a grassroots perspective.”

Working within an African American dance aesthetic, Deeply Rooted explores topics as varied as the Somali civil war and famine, the quest to live in the face of AIDS, and early-twentieth-century African American cultures. Jeff and Abbott’s choreography stresses both technical virtuosity and the deep exploration of character and community. As one dancer explains regarding Deeply Rooted’s Life, which deals with personal struggles to live with AIDS, “I know I’m telling experiences of things I see every day. Right outside these doors, there’s some things about this piece that are going on.”

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Public Art: More than Just a “Picture on the Wall”— a Vehicle for Crime Prevention

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"So, what is the point of public art? ” This question, posted online by Voice of San Diego's Kelly Bennett, came in response to the city of San Diego’s recent pull from public art funding; after its release on Twitter the post quickly turned viral. Responses to the post ranged from views of public art as superfluous and its place in the public sphere as luxury, to public art as necessary for community well-being, safety, and cohesiveness. 

Many of us believe in the arts as integral to the livable community— but when measuring out our federal dollars,  the arts are usually the first to go. But what if we could prove that in addition to instilling neighborhood pride and value in our public space, public art could actually serve as a deterrent for crime and violence?

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Juana Guzman

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Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award

For her extensive career in the preservation and promotion of local arts, culture, and heritage for our diverse American population.

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La Peña

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Berkeley, CA

A cultural institution that embraces the arts as a means to examine deeper social issues.

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