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Our Milestones

1993 The seed of Helping Link begins. Initial planning stages are discussed and laid out on a friend’s living room coffee table. Soon after, Information and Referral Services starts at the Rainier Vista Garden Community Center, a Seattle Housing Authority site, linking Vietnamese immigrant and refugees and their families to social services.
1994 English as a Second Language (ESL) classes began at the Rainier Vista Garden Community Center upon request from Vietnamese clients unable to understand phone bills and scholastic reports.  ESL classes continue to be a core service at Helping Link today.
1995 The Intergenerational Program addresses the cultural gap between parents and their children.  It begins on a basketball court, where teens can connect with youth through the game of basketball, while parents provide encouragement and refreshments on the sidelines.
1996 Four foundations — Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Women’s Funding Alliance, Family Leadership Fund and the Social Justice Fund (formerly ATR) — believe in the vision of Helping Link and provide vital seed money for us to grow. Helping Link’s Board of Directors hire Minh-Duc as Executive Director and David Okimoto, former Executive Director of the Atlantic Street Center, becomes our fiscal agent.
1997 Helping Link initiates the first Tet, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year, at the Seattle Center to preserve our cultural heritage and build ethnic awareness amongst the larger Seattle community. Before then, we celebrated Tet only in our Little Saigon neighborhood, but now, it is a celebration for everyone to enjoy.
1998 After-school youth tutoring begins at the Rainier Beach Library Branch, upon request of concerned Vietnamese parents anxious to narrow learning gaps. We deliver school supplies and extra books on hands for voracious readers to boost studies.
1999 The Viet-in-Seattle website project begins.  Students of Helping Link’s Youth Program develop the site in partnership with the City of Seattle.  They research their Vietnamese heritage, interview family, and community members, and tell stories about their experiences while earning school credit.
2000 Helping Link participates in two notable collaborations:  Refugee Immigrant Parenting Advocacy Network (RIPAN) and Communities of Refugee Empowerment Coalition (COREC).  The partnership enables diverse organizations to provide clients non-discriminatory, culturally competent, and linguistically appropriate services.
2001 Helping Link officially opens its new office doors on Jackson Street! We offer bilingual computer classes and open lab hours to bridge the generational and technological divides experienced by our clients.
2002 Partnering with the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) enables Helping Link’s immigrant, and respected refugee elders rebuild their lives in a new country by placing them in community-based organizations that nurture and cultivate their transition to a new life.
2003 Partnership with the Refugee and Immigrant Family Center begins.  This multicultural and multilingual center offers a wide array of intergenerational support services, such as early childhood education, parenting training, and job readiness assistance.
2004 We complete the first draft for the Bilingual Handbook of Basic Computer Skills. Eventually, this handbook garners enough attention to reach over 10,000 Vietnamese across the U.S., while the Seattle Public Library and Washington D.C.’s Library of Congress preserve copies for circulation.
2005 Helping Link becomes an official non-profit agency, garnering 501(c)(3) status! Throughout the years, we have become a genuine “link” to a welcoming and supportive community for our clients and volunteers.
2006 Helping Link establishes a partnership with Seattle Public Schools’ Bilingual Student Services to provide mathematical preparation for 4th-8th graders in alignment with WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) instruction. Vietnamese language classes to English-speaking professionals also begin.
2007 Helping Link and Seattle University collaborate on a Vietnamese-Immersion Project entitled, “A Mile Away, a World Apart: Seattle’s Little Saigon Neighborhood.” This project raises awareness for an underserved population and promotes tolerance for diversity among all races.
2008 Helping Link graduates of our Citizenship Class pass the Citizenship Exam and head to the polls to cast a vote for a U.S. President. Also, a newly elected Board of Advisors organizes. These ambassadors provide mentorship, support, and expertise for Helping Link. We celebrate all this and more at our 15th Anniversary Gala.
2009 We begin a partnership with Macrina Bakery to begin after-work ESL classes held at Macrina Bakery in SoDo.  Macrina supports their employees, our Helping Link clients, in learning valuable jobsite bakery skills and affiliated bakery vocabulary and terminology.
2010 Helping Link celebrates 17 years of achievement our annual fundraising event called the “International Fashion Gala” with a particular focus on opportunities in fashion and design as career paths for Vietnamese youth desiring personal fulfillment and success outside of traditional Vietnamese professions.
2011 EdLab, in conjunction with Communities Connect Network, awards us a federal grant, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), allowing us to provide state-of-the-art computers. Clients can now access technology and develop employable skills during open lab hours and computer classes.
2012 Helping Link publishes its 2nd edition of the Bilingual Handbook of Basic Computer Skills, providing introductory computer knowledge for Vietnamese-Americans around the world. With basic introductions on the Internet, Email, and Skype, this handbook changes the lives of many clients.
2013 Helping Link celebrates 20 years of enabling Vietnamese-Americans to give back to their community. We now have past clients as current volunteers, ready and willing to take leadership roles in the development and progress of our community and contribute to the larger Seattle society!