The last week of Urban Institute! We began Tuesday’s session with several alumni of the program. Hearing from Alex, Diana, and our other great speaker was genuinely very inspiring. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Diana’s story as her passion was infectious while her personality was incredibly upbeat. I also am interested in the human side of the work that CCDC does in terms of working with residents and their needs. I am a little deterred by working with Chinatown CDC as one of the top requirements is being biliterate l in Cantonese/Mandarin/other languages specific to its residents - which I am not. However, I feel strongly in working in some capacity with direct community involvement/service and UI has really nurtured this desire. This fellowship has solidified this desire and for that I am grateful.
After the alumni panel, we were given the rest of the session to work. My group and I worked wonderfully together and we were able to do our last field trip as well as put together our digital archive and powerpoint presentation slides. Our last field trip consisted of a walk to the Chinatown Visitor and Information Center located on 625 Kearny Street, San Francisco, CA 94108. This was my very first time there and I was blown away by the welcoming feel, the cleanliness, abundant resources, and especially the kind and informative woman who received us. After visiting the center, it was clear to us that the issue wasn’t the visitor center itself, but the lack of visibility both in and outside of Chinatown (on the Internet and physically around Chinatown). I am so very proud of our work and can’t wait to showcase it to our special guests on Thursday.
After the session ended, Danny and I completed our event observation by helping out in the garden with the CCDC youth team. Here, Danny and I built a new bench for the residents and their young families to enjoy when they visit the garden. This was the first time I've put something together of this size and also the first time using an electrical drill! I felt so accomplished after the construction was complete. There was also a succulent/herb planting workshop and it was refreshing to see young kids/teens genuinely enjoying their friends in the sunshine while they learned about planting. I was so happy to see so many happy children enjoying the food, garden, and even their new bench when we finished! Seeing the direct impact of our actions was really heartwarming and I feel so fortunate to be able to help in any way possible.
- Megan Mah