Stories of Impact
Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs) make up over 26 percent of the Bay Area population. Many are newer immigrants and refugees who face poverty, isolation, limited access to healthcare and other necessities hidden from view. With the support of our donors, the Asian Pacific Fund is able to distribute grants to more than 80 nonprofit affiliates who address these needs and provide vital services for our most vulnerable API youth, families and seniors in the Bay Area. Collectively, they provide services in 41 different Asian and Pacific Islander languages to 16 different ethnic communities.
The following testimonies are a reflection of the impact this critical funding has made through our affiliates. In many cases, it has been life-changing, if not life-saving.
Affiliate Executive Directors
Leaders of four APF nonprofit affiliates—J-Sei, AACI, Taulama for Tongans, and Korean Community Center of the East Bay (KCCEB)—share how the Fund has engaged and worked closely with them to meet the needs of their clients and the larger API community.
“Entering middle school, I became depressed. I started keeping to myself more…and then I started cutting myself. I was seriously considering killing myself. My friends were talking to me about their [CYC] dragon boat team so I decided to join and things became a lot better. My teammates were super supportive, they were loving and made sure that I felt like family. I am so grateful for CYC, my teammates, and my coaches because they have helped me a lot and honestly I would not be here if it weren’t for them.”
Community Youth Center (CYC) empowers and strengthens high need youth and their families by providing comprehensive youth development through education, employment training, advocacy, and other support services.
“Before we came here, we thought it would be like heaven in the US. But it was like hell. One day, my mom took me to Cameron House, and things started changing. The people there are kind and helpful. They not only teach me English but also how to be a better person…. Because of Cameron House, I feel like my future is bright.”
Cameron House empowers generations of Chinese American individuals and their families to fully participate in and contribute positively toward a healthy society. They are dedicated to creating programs that help youth and adults learn, heal and thrive.
“My mom was different than other moms my friends had. She would come home late, or sometimes not at all. I acted like everything was fine, but I often cried when I was alone. As I grew up, I learned my mom was addicted to drugs. In high school, I joined several clubs, and also CYC dragon boat team. They were so accepting, I felt like I could be myself. Today, I feel like a totally different person. I have some huge challenges ahead of me but with support from CYC, I will achieve my dreams.”
Community Youth Center (CYC) serves over 5,000 youth each year and is one of only a few agencies in San Francisco addressing the needs of a diverse population of low income, high need and at-risk Asian Pacific American, Latino and African American youth.
“My mom told me I was a big regret. I was sad and constantly depressed. I starved myself to be skinnier, I harmed myself. I wanted to escape the pain. In seventh grade, friends told me about EBAYC’s after school program and soon I realized how healthy it was for me to be away from home. There are staff and counselors to talk to and it feels relaxed. They listen and I know they really care about me. I’ve now gotten involved with restorative justice at school. I’ve attended student council meetings with student board members. I see myself as a leader.”
East Bay Asian Youth Center (EBAYC) is dedicated to supporting all youth to be safe, smart and socially responsible. They partner with public and private institutions to provide services such as youth violence prevention, expanded learning, and civic and community engagement.
Meriama and Fred
“When my son was born, I wanted him to live a healthy and happy life. I decided to come back to the US alone so I could send money back to Samoa. It was heartbreaking to leave him. 10 months ago, I moved to San Francisco, and brought him with me. I really needed to find work, but it was difficult. SCDC is so important for local Samoans to gather. We get support with things like housing, family issues, or employment. Knowing SCDC is there to take care of my son I am better able to focus on my education and career and our family’s future. I’m so thankful they’re here.”
Samoan Community Development Center (SCDC) improves the quality of life for Samoans and Pacific Islanders through self-help, economic self-sufficiency, community solidarity, education, and the preservation of customs and traditions.
“When the pandemic started at the end of my sophomore year, my anxiety got worse, and I experienced depression too. I couldn’t motivate myself to do anything. Gum Moon was the only place I felt comfortable interacting with others…and it lifted me out of the terrible place I was in. I can’t imagine my life without them.”
Gum Moon Women’s Residence empowers immigrant and low-income women and families in transition by providing a safe sanctuary to live in and enrichment programs that help develop life skills.
“I didn’t know anything about America. I had no relatives or friends there. I relied on my husband for money and had to stay at home. We argued so much. He beat me. Someone at my church told me about the Asian Women’s Shelter. When I first saw the house, I thought, ‘Wow it feels so safe, so warm, so comfortable.’ For me, Asian Women’s Shelter is like a lighthouse in the middle of the sea of darkness. I can see the light, the hope.”
Asian Women’s Shelter (AWS) mission is to eliminate domestic violence by promoting the social, economic and political self-determination of women and all survivors of violence and oppression.