Helping Link/Một Dấu Nối

Connecting and Empowering the Vietnamese Community

Our History

Helping Link invites professional industries to provide onsite services to our clients. The 2014 Gala hosted by Helping Link takes a moment to honor our long-term partnerships with Macrina Bakery and Cafe, Lucky Seven Foundation, and Seattle Children’s Hospital. The City of Seattle Technology Matching Fund also grants Helping Link on their request to develop a Vietnamese and English bilingual handbook for parents in the Seattle School District to gain access to The Source, a resource tool that provides students’ progress reports, homework assignments, and an educational directory of opportunities and interaction with school staff. This manual allows Vietnamese parents struggling with English fluency/literacy to gain access to this resource tool as means to keep updated on their children’s accomplishments and progress in school.

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!

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.

EdLab, in conjunction with Communities Connect Network, awards Helping Link 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.

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. UW Architecture also selects Helping Link as a non-profit partner to develop a spacious and environmentally-friendly terrace space for easier accessibility for clients and volunteers alike to Helping Link’s center facility. This effort has helped Helping Link be in compliant with the ADA requirements.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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