ASIA's ICEP Summer Program 2012 for Refugee Students Ends with a Party

For Immediate Release
August 21, 2012

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Contact: Kim Helms;; 330-535-3263

ASIA’s ICEP Summer Program 2012 for Refugee Students Ends with a Party

Ms. Kelly's class performs a skit about the weather

AKRON – ASIA’s International Community Empowerment Project (ICEP) Summer Program concluded with a party on Thursday, August 2, at Findley Community Learning Center (CLC).  For six weeks, the ICEP Summer Program had been enriching the education of at-risk refugee and immigrant children from mostly southeast Asian countries.  At last week’s closing party, ICEP parents, staff, volunteers, and supporters joined students in celebrating their accomplishments and diverse cultural heritages.

Visitors to the party could browse informational tri-folds which ICEP students had created on the Karen, Vietnamese, Burmese, Nepali, Hmong, and Chinese cultures.  Following a delicious potluck lunch of dishes cooked by students’ families, ICEP coordinator Kim Helms opened the program for an audience attired in striking traditional dress. Ms. Helms thanked the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for conducting activities with ICEP Summer students every week.  She also thanked Tammy Kline, Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist II with the Summit County Health Department, for giving weekly lessons on how to make healthy choices about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Volunteers from the American Chemical Society (ACS), Akron Section, had also conducted Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) activities with ICEP Summer students on Mondays and Thursdays.  At the party, ACS Akron Section’s Dr. Regan Silvestri introduced the students’ Science Magic Show.  Using what they had learned over the summer, the program’s 6th-8th graders created liquid rainbows and foaming columns of ‘elephant toothpaste’ in oversized test tubes.

(L to R) Ms. Kelly, Ms. Kim, and Ms. Theresa

All three ICEP Summer classes, with students ranging from first to eighth grade, then took the stage to share music, dancing, and stories from their cultures, and also to review what they had accomplished over the past six weeks.  Students presented their projects as skits on American tall tales, the weather, and business and finance – all in English, as English enrichment had been a daily keystone of the ICEP Summer curriculum.

ICEP teacher Theresa Behrens reported noticeable improvements in her students’ English abilities.  Two of her students, Aue Naie Oo and Aung Saw Jue, ended the Summer Program confident enough in their English to read aloud to their peers and younger students.  “Those two really tried at ICEP,” said Ms. Helms.  “They served as role models for the younger class.”

Fellow teacher Kelly Le could attest personally to the impact of ICEP.  A graduate of ICEP’s regular after- school program, Miss Le recalled struggling in the classroom when she first arrived in the United States from Vietnam.  “At ICEP, I got the individual attention I needed – especially with math.  And no one treated you like someone different, someone who needed help.”  After enrolling in ICEP, Miss Le’s language problems soon resolved themselves.  “And by first grade,” she laughed, “my teacher sent a note home saying that I talked too much.”

Outside of English enrichment, ICEP Summer also provided experiences to help students successfully integrate into American society: getting their first library card, borrowing books and videos through the Akron-Summit County mobile library, shopping at the ICEP Store with ICEP ‘dollars’, and field trips to the Great Lakes Science Center, the F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, and swimming at Munroe Falls Metro Park.

The summer full of mental, physical, and social engagement had produced a noticeable impact on the students, said Yi (Annie) Sun, ICEP Youth Educator.  According to Miss Sun, many students arrived to the ICEP Summer Program quiet and shy.  “But being around the other kids and volunteers really opened them up.  By the end of the program the kids definitely were more open, more social.”

The success of the 2012 ICEP Summer Program was made possible by over 39 ICEP students, 25 volunteers, 7 staff members, and a passionate coordinator.  ASIA would like to thank ICEP Summer Program funders Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, American Chemical Society, Ohio Department of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services, County of Summit ADM Board, and Neighborhood Partnership Program (Department of Planning and Urban Development, City of Akron).  ICEP will resume in the fall at Findley CLC for the regular after-school program.

Click here to learn more about ICEP.  Click here to see the full ICEP Summer 2012 calendar.


Asian Services In Action
Founded in 1995, Asian Services In Action’s mission is to is to empower and advocate for Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPIs); and to provide AAPIs access to quality, culturally, and linguistically appropriate information and services.  ASIA serves over 10,000 people annually.  Follow ASIA on Facebook and Twitter!