The Asian Counseling and Referral Service and the Ethiopian Community in Seattle are rays of downright sunshine.
By: Rashi Bhogal
June 23, 2016
Rich in culture, Seattle is home to many diverse ethnic communities who have maintained a strong connection to their own cultural background. The Ethiopian Community in Seattle (ECS) and the Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) are two organizations which provide a home away from home for immigrants and refugees. The goal of these associations is to help people smoothly adapt to U.S. culture while retaining a sense of self identity particular to one’s own heritage.
ETHIOPIAN COMMUNITY IN SEATTLE
The ECS launched in 1983 with very humble beginnings and was founded by immigrants who volunteered their time, money, and energy. The organization today continues to help its community members by providing job training, child care, meals, education, healthcare, and more for Ethiopian as well as other African immigrants and refugees. In addition to these services, ECS holds fun annual events including cultural festivals such as the Ethiopian New Year’s Celebration. Some other programs include cultural education which is explored through cooking classes, dance classes, language, and art. The community center also has a ballroom, and regularly holds wedding ceremonies and receptions.
ASIAN COUNSELING AND REFERRAL SERVICE
The ACRS promotes social justice and the well-being and empowerment of Asian American and Pacific Islanders. It strives to develop and advocate for creative community-based multilingual and multicultural services. A few of the services offered are child and youth development by providing leadership and skill building classes for children and their families. The center also helps facilitate the naturalization process for immigrants and refugees by offering classes on how to become a U.S. citizen.
But it’s not all work and no play! They also host a ton of interesting events which cater to the whole family. Check out art and jewelry from local vendors at Artwalks’ in Issaquah, for example. They also host Music Under the Stars, which is a free event in Columbia Park on June 29. Plus, the ACRS hosts their annual Walk For Rice, a walk/run fundraiser coming up this Saturday, June 25. The event goal: Raise money for ACRS’s food bank. Walk, run, skip, or just donate to the cause. Racers may get to choose from various prizes like sweatshirts or water bottle swag. Plus, see live performances by Theory of Change, the International Lion Dance group, and Seattle Chinese Community Girl’s Drill Team.
Please watch this incredibly heart warming video from the Asian Counseling and Referral Service’s YouTube channel. (Have your tissues at the ready!)