Immigrant children often help out their parents in ways most American kids could never imagine — serving as interpreters in interactions with English speakers and helping to make sense of bills and forms.
High school senior Yuling Chen is one such kid. Five years ago, Chen came to the United States with her family from China. Since arriving in America, she has always helped her family with the language that she was quicker to pick up. “When I go home, they all hand me a big stack of letters to read,” she told Chris Burrell of The Patriot Ledger.
But she doesn’t mind. “When I first came to the United States, my English wasn’t so good at all, and I wanted to help (the elderly) with their lives,” she said. Chen is one of a group of 235 Asian immigrant teenagers in Quincy, Massachusetts that are taking this assistance to the next level, volunteering to help elderly immigrants at Quincy Asian Resources.
Along with the other teens, Chen teach seniors how to use computers, help middle school students making the transition to America, and assist at the Lunar New Year party and August Moon Festival, among many other duties.
Peter Tam, a Quincy native, first came to the center in 2007 as an AmeriCorps volunteer; now he directs the youth programs, involving volunteers from both of Quincy’s public high schools. “We’re really looking to create the next generation of Asian-American leaders and recent immigrant leaders in the community,” Tam told Burrell.
To thank the teens for their hard work, Quincy Asian Resources awarded seven of them, including Chen, a college scholarship worth $1,000.
MORE: Neighborhood Centers Provide New Immigrants An Instant Community