2017 Spring Quarter Newsletter


Congratulations to our ESL Students!

We are so proud of the hard work and dedication of our winter quarter ESL students! During the cold and dark months, they remained committed to practicing and improving their English skills. Read about their experience in their own words:

Lan ESL Student
Lan, ESL Student of Helping Link

What do you enjoy about the ESL class?

I really like and admire the instructor who helps me increase my knowledge and his unconditional time and energy.

What have you learned that has helped you outside of class?

The knowledge that I got for the last few months has helped me to be able to use it in my daily life in getting to know my neighborhood. I am so proud that I can speak the language, especially when I live in the US and particularly Seattle, WA.

Hoang ESL Student
Hoang, ESL Student of Helping Link

What do you enjoy about the ESL class?

I really like the way the class is being conducted. The teachers are very dedicated, happy and responsive to our requests.

What have you learned that has helped you outside of class?

I am able to use the new vocabulary since I learned ESL and it helped me to communicate to my colleagues at work daily. I am very very thankful that the instructor gives me confidence to speak English.

Hiep ESL Student
Hiep, ESL Student of Helping Link

What do you enjoy about the ESL class?

I really like the environment of the classroom. The instructors are very very down to earth and really patient with me so that I can learn the language.

What have you learned that has helped you outside of class?

I am so happy to be able to learn English. I used to not like to go to class because I never felt like I could learn anything, but this setting really helped me.

Lieu ESL Student
Lieu, ESL Student of Helping Link

What do you enjoy about the ESL class?

I make new friends, and I learn a lot of vocabulary and about civic responsibility.

What have you learned that has helped you outside of class?

I can complete a form to apply for a job for myself, and I can go shopping confidently and also make an appointment with the doctor.


How Changing Lives Changed My Own
by Angela Nguyen

As a volunteer we often reflect on our work, our impact, and whose lives we are improving. We promise to help our community thrive. However in my experience working with Helping Link, I can’t help but also think about all that I’ve gained from volunteering here. It is a unique and incomparable experience.

Before Helping Link, I’ve had prior experience as a CPR instructor and youth tutor at a local library, and I applied believing I would do similar work. But Helping Link offered me an even bigger opportunity as the Youth Tutoring Program Coordinator, a position that I could have never imagined myself doing. It has pushed me further both personally and professionally and has shown me all the pivotal parts of behind the scenes tasks and actions necessary to run the programs. A successful program does not just happen on its own, and clients don’t just show up. Even before the program began, we had to create flyers to promote the program, contact community organizations to display and distribute the flyers and make phone calls to schools in need of extra help we could provide, all while ensuring we as a team were all on the same page. I now know how crucial leadership, communication and fostering relationships is to run a program efficiently and provide the best environment and services not just for our clients but for our incredible volunteers as well. It is truly inspiring seeing the amount of cooperation, trust and unity amongst everyone to work towards a common goal.   

Even though Helping Link’s mission is to empower Vietnamese Americans and create bridges between cultures, it isn’t just the clients who are receiving this benefit. Even as a second generation Vietnamese American who grew up in the U.S., Helping Link helped me to grow and develop my own skills. When you
volunteer you aren’t just changing the lives of those you are helping and creating a brighter future for them, but you change as well. As time, students, programs, and the community evolve, I am evolving along with them to make us all stronger.

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Angela is a second-generation Vietnamese American born to immigrant parents and first generation college student at the University of Washington in the Psychology department.  She is a current volunteer with Helping Link and began working with the organization in December 2016 as the Youth Tutoring Program Coordinator and is passionate about giving back to the community that she grew up in and to an organization that has helped her family in the past.


Thank You, John & Welcome, Phong

Thank you for your service, John!

Earlier this year, John Phillips stepped down as Board President. We thank him for his leadership and program support over the last four years. A message from John:

I made my first visit to Helping Link in December of 2013. I was immediately drawn to the vibrant and welcoming community atmosphere. I was one of several new volunteers who had arrived for orientation that day just in time to see the transition from after school youth programming to evening classes for adults and seniors. The place was bustling. Waiting for the orientation to begin, I felt like I was in the way and out of place. I wasn’t sure that I would be able fit in and contribute at Helping Link. Those were the awkward first moments of a remarkable journey.

Four years later, I reflect with amazement and gratitude for the impact Helping Link has had on my life. I have made great friends, attended countless celebrations, grown professionally, and above all I have been privileged to work in collaboration with dozens of this country’s most precious resource: immigrants and refugees. As a fourth generation Seattleite, I am long removed from the experience of arriving in this country and starting a new life with its promises of liberty and justice. It has been both a humbling honor and joyful pleasure to work in collaboration with the many Vietnamese Americans who I have known as students, colleagues, and friends.

Phong, Board President

Helping Link is a very special organization operating in a very special neighborhood. I look forward to finding new ways to give back to both, in gratitude for what has been given to me. Cảm ơn Helping Link!

We also welcome and congratulate Phong Dang as our incoming Board President. Phong has volunteered as an iPad instructor at Helping Link for two years. “It is a pleasure to be a part of Helping Link where we can work together to see our community prosper. There is much to be done with many challenges and opportunities ahead. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve.”

Join us in thanking John for his service and giving a warm welcome to Phong!


National Volunteer Week -Celebrating Service!

We are thrilled to celebrate National Volunteer Week. At Helping Link, volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Together, for the past twenty four years, our volunteers have helped thousands of refugees, immigrants and members of the Vietnamese community foster ties to the greater Seattle community.

In 2016, Helping Link’s 84 volunteers contributed over 4,500 hours of service, totaling an estimated $135,000 value. Our volunteers truly embody our belief of service before self. As we continue to help transitions and honor traditions, we are continually inspired and empowered by our incredible team of volunteers from all backgrounds and walks of life. Helping Link thanks each and every team member for the minutes and hours they have spent after work and away from family and friends to help us help our community. Join us as we extend our endless thanks to our volunteers for bringing their skills, talents and leadership to the Helping Link family.

GiveBig 2017

Uncomfortable with the political climate? Looking for ways to act now? Good news! You can act right from your computer or smartphone. Helping Link is partnering with the Seattle Foundation for GiveBIG, the region’s largest online giving event from April 27 – May 10. Our Board of Directors and volunteers are generously raising $4,500, and by combining our efforts, Helping Link’s goal is to raise $20,0000 with your support.

Everyday Helping Link is making an impact for refugees, immigrants, and Vietnamese members of the Seattle community. Our work is more important than ever before. When you GiveBIG for Helping Link, you allow us to continue to operate our programs and services for your friends, neighbors and acquaintances in the community.  Together, we can work to ensure our community flourishes.

Will you GiveBIG for Helping Link in 2017?