The three winners "tirelessly devote their time, talents, and passion to provide an invaluable service to our community," said Daphne Kwok, AARP Vice President of Multicultural Leadership, Asian American and Pacific Islander Audience Strategy. "We hope that they inspire others to work or volunteer for our older adults.”
The winners and their organizations will each receive a $1,000 cash prize. They are:
For 15 years, Hui has dedicated her time and energy to running a free medical clinic every Sunday for older adults and the under-served population in Chicago’s Chinatown. Although CCBA provided basic medical advice to the community through volunteer professionals in the 1990s, it could not offer laboratory services and medications until Hui took charge. She partnered with the Chicago Mercy Hospital Medical Center to underwrite laboratory services and organized medical practitioners in the Chinese community to establish a clinic. As a nurse practitioner, she also cares for patients directly. Her tireless efforts have helped many older adults who otherwise would not be able to receive acute or preventive care or screenings for cancer, hepatitis and other diseases.
As Yu-Ai Kai’s activities coordinator for the past 12 years, Kimiyo Hubbard is the hub of much of the members' planned activities. Yu-Ai Kai serves 3,000 older adults and their families annually and has two facilities to help the growing senior population in San Jose maintain an independent lifestyle. The organization offers caregiving and bereavement support groups, a nutritious lunch program, Senior Day Services, bilingual case management, and health screenings. Her commitment to keep seniors active in mind and body motivated her to recruit volunteer instructors and develop new programs. She empowers and nurtures instructors and often check in on classes to provide encouragement to the students. “The seniors at Yu-Ai Kai are my family,” says Kimiyo Hubbard, adding that her role has been “the most fulfilling position I’ve ever had.”
Pak has been volunteering for the Korean-American Seniors Association of Orange County (KASAOC) since 1999. Established in 1977 to provide leadership for Korean seniors, KASAOC fosters respect for elders, promotes the spirit of mutual assistance, and provides cultural events to enhance cross-cultural understanding among Orange County's diverse residents. Since many of its members are monolingual, it was very difficult and challenging for them to take public transportation run by the Orange County Transit Authority and its fixed route system. In 2003, led by Pak, KASAOC started the Senior Mobility Program with grants from the county transit authority and the City of Garden Grove to help seniors get to markets, hospitals, pharmacies, language classes and U.S. citizenship exam preparation classes. Pak also helps raise funds and garner support for KASAOC from major corporations and organizations.
Finalists were selected from 77 submissions received from around the country. The nominees included executive directors, staff and volunteers who work in health care, social services, education, technology and the arts. The public voted via AARP's AAPI Community page on Facebook during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May.
The other finalists were: Soon Do Paik of Penn Asian Senior Services (PASSi) in Philadelphia; Enoch Fung of the Chinatown Community Development Center in San Francisco; Katty Chow of Kin On Community Health Care in Seattle; Shubhada Saxena of SAIVA-South Asians' International Volunteer Association in Houston; Rose Kim Ly of Vietnamese American Community Center of the East Bay in Oakland, Calif.; Fay Chew Matsuda of Hamilton-Madison House City Hall Senior Center in New York; and Lourdes Santos Tancinco of Veterans Equity Center in San Francisco.
Congratulations to all the finalists — they are all AAPI Heroes for the work they do and the dedication they bring to their communities and organizations!