Saturday, December 10, 2011

Parent Recognition

Every quarter, our after school program holds a Family Night, usually showcasing the students' accomplishments for parents, teachers and relatives. This month, however, we decided to do something a little different and ask the parents to talk about their own kids.

As many of you know, Asian parents don't often compliment their children. In fact, many times the only interactions they have with their kids is to "encourage" them on to do better. As part of the introduction to American culture, CISC worked with parents to show them how encouragement, praise and positive reinforcement can be useful tools in raising their children in the US.

The kids ate it up! Most had never heard their parents say anything good about them in public before. For the parents, this was a huge learning opportunity, both in terms of acculturation, as well as in learning new and useful parenting skills and strategies.

Kudos to all our parents and our outstanding students!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Caregiver Appreciation

CISC salutes the untiring efforts of our family caregivers. Caring for a loved one 24/7 is a labor of love, but also a major stressor for those without outside support. CISC's Family Caregiver Program helps provide some of this support through education (like how to move someone safely from bed to wheelchair, how to ensure med compliance), respite services, and counseling.

CISC also provides social outlets like last week's appreciation party for caregivers who are all too often tied to the home, with no opportunity to engage with others. Exercise groups, peer support, and just plain socializing helps ease the stress of a full time, unpaid job done out of love.

Food doesn't hurt either.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

1st Thanksgiving

CISC Pre-K kids getting their first taste of turkey. In fact, none of them had ever SEEN a turkey before.


Not only bilingual (Mandarin/English) instruction to prepare kids for success in kindergarten, CISC focuses on bicultural identity development as well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

November is Family Caregiver Month

CISC will be celebrating National Family Caregiver Month at the International Family Center-Seattle on Wednesday, November 16 with a thank you for all our unpaid caregivers. A special sharing session will be followed by lunch, and terrific raffle prizes as a small way of showing our appreciation for all the hard work our family caregivers put in throughout the year.

Did you know that in addition to providing emotional and physical support, 40% of family caregivers reduce their work hours or quit their jobs to care for their loved ones? Plus, they spend an average of $5,500.00 of their own money to help provide the care they give.

CISC's Family Caregiver Program has more information and resources for you. Contact Theresa Lam at theresal@cisc-seattle or 206-624-5633 x 4137

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Karaoke Party!

Last Sunday a group of supporters from the International Family Center-Kent organized a karaoke/dance party at Tea Palace to raise funds for the center. Over 200 people were treated to the wonderful singing and dancing talents in our community and raised $7,000 for the IFC-Kent!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Trick or Treat

Yesterday, kids from our bilingual Pre-K program dressed up and went trick or treating around CISC. For most of them, this was the first time they had experienced Halloween. The looks on their faces when they realized that all they had to do was say, "trick or treat" and people would give them candy... priceless!

As part of our efforts to connect the generations, the kids ended up their trick or treating at Sunshine Garden. The seniors there had already prepared for the event with their own Halloween celebration, arts and crafts. They exchanged candies with the kids for beautiful autumn leaves that they took home to decorate with.

All in all, it was a fun morning. Even when we overheard one girl telling her friend how she didn't know if she could carry any more candy her bag was so heavy!

Bridging the generations - Sunshine Garden seniors and Pre-K children celebrate Halloween together

Monday, October 31, 2011

National Immigrant Integration Conference

Last week, CISC's senior management participated in a 3 day conference on immigrant integration. There were over 700 attendees from 38 states and 7 countries talking about all aspects of immigrant integration:  active citizenship, English language learning, workforce development, health, rights, youth and education, and engaging receiving communities.
We all came away with terrific ideas, great resources, and new friends who will support us in the work we do - and vice versa. Stay tuned to see how we begin to implement these ideas to create even more opportunities for immigrants and their families to succeed in their new community!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wii Bowling

Not to be outdone by CISC staff, who held their first Wii bowling tournament last month, Sunshine Garden Seniors decided that it was time for THEM to learn how to do this virtual bowling thing too.
It took a little bit of practice, but soon we had seniors making strikes and spares galore. Not only were they happy to have a new form of entertainment, they also liked the physical activity involved as well.

Now it's bowling, next time, who knows? Maybe it'll be hula hoops - or skeet shooting!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ardent Supporters

Some pics of some of our biggest supporters who turned out last week at the home of Dennis and Millie Su. Thank you all for your very generous and continued support of CISC!

Good food, drinks, and great company!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Community Health Fair Sponsored by NW Kidney Center

Last Saturday, CISC's International Family Center-Seattle partnered with ICHS and 21 other organizations to present the 2011 Community Health Fair. The nearly 300 attendees took part in free medical screenings, educational workshops, and outreach navigation to help access health care resources.

They were also treated to samples of healthy soy sauce, kitchen tools, and items to promote physical activity in kids and adults. Everyone enjoyed visiting with NW Kidney Centers' Sidney (the kidney), and practiced dental hygiene on a giant tooth with help from the Tooth Fairy.

A big thanks to all our partners for making this year's Community Health Fair a huge success!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Office Depot Foundation

Once again, as part of its National Backpack program, Office Depot has donated a number of new sackpacks to help our kids get off to a good start in school.
We'll be giving these new sackpacks in 5 cool designs to families at our International Family Centers in Seattle, and as part of our mid-Autumn Moon Festival celebration on September 10 in Kent. Come join the fun and pick up a bag for your child too!

Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Kudos to the CISC after school program and incredible staff!
"The CISC volunteer site is a great learning experience for me because it allowed me to apply the skills I learned
internally within the classroom walls to the external world. Also, I had a really fun time as a tutor since I got to
engage with a lot of children.

From the latest report out of the Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Monday, August 29, 2011

Community Health Fair 2011

Our International Family Center's annual Community Health Fair is coming up - 10am-2pm on Saturday, September 17 at CISC. Take advantage of health screenings and professional advice from the 20 organizations that will be attending. Chinese and Vietnamese interpreters will be available, and a light lunch will be served at noon. Thanks to Northwest Kidney Center for sponsoring the event, and Washington State Hepatitis B Coalition for providing lunch.

For more information, please contact Mabel Kwong at or 206-624-5633 x 4151.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Video Project: Adobe Youth Voices

Staff member Karia recently obtained a technology grant from Adobe to teach students to design and produce videos. This grant enabled immigrant youths to express and voice their opinions of critical topics through media production. While the initial stages and coming up with video themes were difficult, Karia was soon amazed by the creativity and dedication the students showed in their work. As a result, three of the videos were shared at the Adobe event on May 17th. Here are links to the three videos:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

39th Annual Friendship Dinner and Auction

Over 350 guests and supporters attended CISC's 39th Annual Friendship Dinner and Auction held at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue on June 4. Guests enjoyed a plated dinner while participating in both live and silent auctions throughout the night. Through generous donations and gifts, we raised nearly $140,000 during the event for CISC programs! Thanks to everyone who came out and supported CISC, making this a very successful night for us.

Photographs courtesy of Dave Greer, Kevin Simans, and Hut Kwan. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tech Health Day in September - volunteer commitments needed!

We need your help to make our 1st Chinatown/International Tech Health Day a success! We need to have a rough headcount of volunteers before we complete our proposal and apply for funding. Time commitment is below:

1st Preparation Meeting:    September 03, 2011 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
2nd Preparation Meeting:   September 10, 2011 from 10:00am to 12:00pm
1st Tech Health Day:          September 17, 2011 from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

While a lot of people are enjoying the benefits of improving information technology, there are still people who are not due to lack of exposure, limited access, language barriers, and other reasons. CISC is working on a proposal to host a tech health day for Chinese immigrants. The goals of the 1st Chinatown/ International Tech Health Day are to promote technological awareness and encourage safe adoption of technology among the Chinese community.

There will be demonstrations of various uses of technology such as interactive video consoles, cell phones and smart phones, digital entertainment, and iPads. There will be educational/informational booths and workshops for families as well as individual users. Topics include Cyber Safety for Children, Internet Safety, Online Job Search & Application, Online Shopping Tips, Resources on Government Websites, and Online Translation Tools.

To sign up, or for questions and more information, please contact Karia Wong at (206) 624-5633 x 4119 or at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bridges to Success

Bellevue Councilmember John Chelminiak has been selected by as the 2011 recipient of the Bridges to Success Award.  The award honors one individual’s commendable work that helps create bridges to success for immigrants and immigrant communities.   
 This year’s award specifically highlights the Councilmember’s dedication and passion towards human services and serving local communities.  Mr. Chelmniniak will be presented with the award at CISC’s 39th Annual Friendship Dinner and Auction on June 4, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.  
Register online before May 20 for discount pricing

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros

Crossroads Bellevue celebrated Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros on Saturday and CISC was there.

Hundreds of kids and their parents were treated to free entertainment on the Main Stage, lots of prizes and activities focusing on literacy, and information on community resources.

CISC's Cultural Navigator Program used the opportunity to outreach to our Latino neighbors and inform them about services available through CISC.

We also held a raffle for Dora the Explorer books courtesy of our friends at Community Health Plan of Washington.  Congrats to the lucky winners!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Center for Ethical Leadership

CISC's Executive Director Alaric Bien was honored at this year's Legacy Event for the Center for Ethical Leadership. Chosen for his efforts in significantly advancing social, environmental, and economic justice, he shared the evening with fellow awardees Paola Maranan and Judy Pigott.

Listen to why he is so passionate about CISC.
Alaric Bien--2011 Legacy Award winner from Center for Ethical Leadership on Vimeo.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Seattle University Volunteer Outreach

On March 29th, CISC’s Jennifer Jan, along with representatives from other local organizations, was invited to an Asian Studies class at Seattle University to speak to Service-Learning students about volunteer opportunities.  Although her pitch was short, 5 eager students signed up to become tutors in the After-School Program – not bad for a class of 12!  Jennifer says that this will hopefully be the beginning of a long-term relationship with Seattle University.  Currently, CISC has already established a strong relationship with the University of Washington – many of our volunteers have been or are current UW students. 

The new quarter has just started, and the number of volunteers for this quarter has increased tremendously –there are now 18 volunteer tutors!  If you would like to volunteer to become a tutor, please call Jennifer Jan at (206)624-5633 x4155 or email her at

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Family Night: Not Just Dinner and an Awards Show

Every quarter, the After-School Program hosts a Family Night for kids that brings together their families and tutors.  The most recent Family Night was hosted on April 1st (after the end of winter quarter) to recognize outstanding students and to host a potluck dinner.  After the dinner, parents were treated to a proactive parenting class hosted by Michael Chang that taught them how to be more involved with their children’s teachers and education.  They were given lessons in how to ask questions during parent-teacher conferences and how to be more involved with their children’s education through accessing emails and the Source.  Parents were also given information on upcoming computer classes focusing on email set-up and login instructions for the Source.

For more information on how to become more involved with your child’s education, you can reach Jennifer Jan (Chinese or English) at (206)624-5633 x4155.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Unemployment Benefits: Who, Where, What, and Why

Recently, the International Family Center hosted an Unemployment Benefits workshop for those interested in seeking government assistance during these tough economic times.  The workshop was led by a WorkSource staff member from the Washington State Employment Security Department who provided listeners with information about eligibility, the different ways to apply, and the necessary documents needed when applying. 

Interested in learning more?  There is an upcoming workshop on Wednesday, 4/27 that will discuss how to fill out the Unemployment Benefits application and how to file a weekly claim over the phone or internet. 
Date & Time: Wednesday, 4/27 from 1:30pm-3:00pm
Location: CISC International Family Center – Seattle
611 S Lane St, Seattle WA 98104

For more information, please contact Mabel Kwong (Chinese or English) at (206) 624-5633 x 4151.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Community Travel Ambassador training

In our Sunshine Garden Senior Day Care program, our staff works hard to help Chinese seniors lead active, healthy, and mobile lives. In that spirit, Sunshine Garden staff member Andes Kong has completed a Community Travel Ambassador Training course, sponsored by Sound Transit, King County Metro, and Hopelink. Community Travel Ambassadors are trained to help seniors, low-income individuals, people with disabilities and those with Limited English Proficiency access appropriate forms of available transportation. Now the approximately 120 seniors who come to Sunshine Garden will have better assistance than ever when they need to see friends, go to the doctor, or just do a little shopping.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

National Victim Assistance Academy

CISC Crime Victims Service Project Director Alan Lai was in Albuquerque, NM last week to attend the March 2011 National Victim Assistance Academy (NVAA). Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, the NVAA provides victim service professionals with skills and knowledge to better serve victims. The trainings were conducted by experts in the criminal justice field and focused on areas such as cultural competence, ethics, resilience, victims' rights, and leadership.

Congratulations to Alan for being accepted into this competitive program. He is pictured here with Carroll Ellis, the new Director of the NVAA.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

CISC Commended in Identity Theft Case

Today we received a letter commending CISC Crime Victims Service Project Director Alan Lai for his exemplary work in helping to crack a multi-state credit card and bank account takeover scheme based in Georgia, which targeted Asian immigrants up and down the West Coast.

Not only did Alan develop trusting relationships with the victims, he helped Department of Justice attorneys bridge the language and cultural barriers, and traveled with the victims to Georgia when they said they needed his support in order to testify.

With CISC's assistance, these Vietnamese, Korean, Laotian and Chinese victims, many of whom are small business owners, saw justice done with eight guilty pleas and one very short trial.

The US Attorney says that without CISC and the services of Alan Lai, "I am certain that we could not have been as successful as we were with the victims and the case."

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Students Meeting Students - in Mandarin

The CISC Step Ahead Preschool program had some special visitors last week - a Chinese-speaking middle school class from Lakeside School. It wasn't the students' first visit to CISC; they've also visited the Play and Learn program as part of their regular service learning trips. The Lakeside class is a mix of students who speak Mandarin at home and students who are learning it as a foreign language, and they had the chance to practice their Mandarin skills, play a few games, and visit the library with the Step Ahead kids. Maybe by the time our Step Ahead students reach middle school, they'll be making their own preschool visits?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

El Centro de Información y Servicio Chino

Cultural Navigator program highlighted in La Raza del Noroeste!

"CISC offers a free Cultural Navigator program that helps Latino families find resources in the community." This article talks about Paula Marin Hernandez and her two year long search for help navigating American systems.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

An Unexpected Gift

At CISC, our clients show their appreciation in many ways. One of our clients, Mr. He, went a little further (and farther) than most: he had a flag specially made in Shanghai! Mr. He is the caregiver for his wife, and the two of them have been coming to our Family Caregiver program for assistance with housing and health insurance. The words on the flag translate roughly as: "Through adversity, I have experienced true compassion. When I face difficulty, CISC is always in my heart."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

2011 Walkathon


Thanks to everyone who took part in our 2nd Annual Lunar New Year Walkathon! Our staff had a lot of support from our walkers, donors, performers, volunteers and sponsors at this year's event. Walkers got to try their hand at Chinese calligraphy, enjoy free massage, watch some great entertainment, and be part of their own lion dance. Watch the video above to see photographs from the event.

Did you attend this year's event? We'd love to hear your feedback for next year. Please contact Dan at 

Thursday, February 03, 2011

CISC ED To Receive Center for Ethical Leadership Award

Center for Ethical Leadership’s Recipients of the 2011 Bill Grace Leadership Legacy Award
This award identifies and celebrates Puget Sound individuals or groups whose vision, leadership and commitment work to advance the common good in local communities. The Center is particularly interested in celebrating those who recognize the importance of collective leadership, and/or who are often out of the traditional spotlight. This year’s recipients are: Alaric Bien, Executive Director, Chinese Information and Service Center; Paola Maranan, Executive Director, Children’s Alliance; and Judy Pigott, Co-Founder, Personal Safety Nets. The awards will be presented at the 6th Annual Legacy Event, Thursday, March 10, 6:30 – 9 p.m. in the Rainier Room at Seattle Center. Tickets are $55 and include dinner. Tickets must be purchased in advance online at

Congratulations to all the recipients!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

2nd Annual Lunar New Year Walkathon

Come celebrate the lunar new year with CISC! Join hundreds of other walkers in our upcoming Walkathon and enjoy dance and martial arts performances and free massage, get a fashionable t-shirt, fulfill that New Year's Resolution to get more exercise, and support important CISC programs. You can also form a team and walk with your company, your church group, or your friends.

Registration is $15 in advance, or $20 on the day of the event (starting at 8:45 am). The walk begins at 9:30am. Sign up early and start gathering pledges to support your walk!
To register and learn more, visit the Walkathon website: can also register at the CISC front desk.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chinese Expulsion!

On a February day in 1886, church bells rang and filled the Seattle air. A mass eviction was to begin. Bands of men took wagons and headed to Washington Street, near Second and Third avenues, and entered the heart of Seattle’s first Chinatown

They rounded up anyone who looked Chinese – in neighborhood laundries and restaurants, wooden dwellings, meeting rooms. The vigilante men pounded on doors and ordered Chinese on wagons for a ride to a Waterfront dock – for a forced and frenzied removal by ship from Seattle

What unfolded was one of the most egregious and lawless acts of hatred against ethnic Chinese in Pacific Northwest history. Similar expulsions of Chinese in Tacoma, Bellingham and Olympia also occurred.

February 7, 2011 will mark the 125th anniversary of this largely overlooked but dramatic expulsion of people living in Seattle and other cities in Washington State. A core community group is planning a public education project aimed at understanding this violation of civil rights, the resilience of the Chinese and the span of events that led to their return and reestablishment in the city of Seattle. This anniversary occurs at a time when the issue of immigration to the United States remains unresolved and a recent Arizona law catapulted the topic to the top of public policy agendas.

For more info, to go 

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Everything you ever wanted to know about CISC as explained by 2 animated robots.

Monday, January 03, 2011

January Promotion at eScrip

From now until January 25th, the eScrip service is having a "10% Goes Back to Schools" event on selected items. That means that if you have signed up for eScrip or sign up now and choose CISC as your organization to support, an even higher percentage of your purchases at participating stores (Safeway being the big one) will go towards the CISC Bilingual Preschool program. To sign up for eScrip or learn more about it, visit the website at As you sign up, you will need to enter your Safeway Card number or the credit card number you use to shop, and enter the CISC Step Ahead Preschool (Group ID: 500025005). You don't actually pay anything; instead, every time you shop with that card, Safeway and other participating stores donate a percentage to the CISC preschool.