Category Archives: Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Four new VISTAs!

Four new VISTAs started their year of service with the Refugee Support Network on Monday. Learn more about their backgrounds and what they’ll be doing during their VISTA year.

Akshika PatelAkshika Patel

Volunteer Program Assistant

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Akshika serves as the AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Program Assistant at Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS). This organization provides a broad range of human services and behavioral health programs to local Asian Pacific American communities. As Volunteer Program Assistant, Akshika recruits, trains, and supports ACRS volunteers in order to provide supplemental support services and increase organizational capacity. While having been born and lived in London, she spent her formative years in Seattle. She graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s degree in International Studies and South Asian Studies, as well as with minors in Human Rights and Asian Language and Literature. In the midst of completing her undergraduate degree, she volunteered and interned with local non-profits and thus developed a passion for working with refugee and immigrant populations.

Erika GrantierErika Grantier

Community Engagement Coordinator VISTA

International Rescue Committee

 As the Community Engagement VISTA at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Erika focuses on growing the IRC’s volunteer and donor bases and educating the community on the importance of the IRC’s work. She also helps plan and execute Artvocacy and the Adopt-a-Family program. Erika is from Roslyn, Washington, and studied Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Montana. Before coming to the IRC, she worked at the Young Women’s Christian Association as a mentor and advocate. Her favorite books are the “Post-Birthday World” and “No One Speaks of Remarkable Things,” and if she had to eat one food for the rest of her life, it would be frozen raspberries.

 Kelly ClaytonKelly Clayton

Learning Center Coordinator VISTA

International Rescue Committee

As the new Learning Center Coordinator at the International Rescue Committee, Kelly will ensure the sustainability of the Learning Center programs by providing training and support for volunteers as well as increasing the organization’s capacity to provide improved programs.

While attending Michigan State University, Kelly became interested in refugee educational services when she volunteered at a local refugee center that provided ESL classes. After graduating with a degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics in 2012, Kelly moved to New York where she received her CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). She is very excited to begin her year of service and looks forward to a rewarding experience.

Nick Valera

Resource Development Coordinator

Somali Community Services Coalition

I will be working with the Somali Community Services Coalition (SCSC) as their Resource Development Coordinator, writing grants, fundraising, facilitating strategic planning, and performing a needs assessment. I hope to increase SCSC’s capacity to serve the Somali and East African Communities of South King County with access to social services and education opportunities.

Graduating in 2007 from Seattle University, I completed two years of Peace Corps service in Cameroon, interned at a Human Rights NGO focusing on human trafficking, and traveled East and West Africa fairly extensively. Most recently, I am coming from an internship as an intake counselor at the American Civil Liberties Union.  I am very happy to be working with SCSC, drinking tea, working in an intercultural setting and not feeling at home, learning Somali, and being challenged daily with new experiences.


Wuhye: Volunteer Impact

During this past quarter, the ACRS Volunteer Program applied for and was chosen as one of the candidates for the Volunteer Impact Partnership with United Way of King County. I have been assisting our Volunteer Coordinator in providing statistics on our Volunteer Program.  This is just the beginning phase of the partnership. I hope our partnership with United Way will help improve our volunteer program and get everyone at ACRS more involved with the volunteers. As I finish up my VISTA year, I can see this exciting new development as something the next VISTA can participate in and get involved with. 

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Wuhye: Celebrating Volunteers!

Club Bamboo Volunteer Appreciation LuncheonAsian Counseling and Referral Service’s Club Bamboo Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon – The event was organized by Refugee Support Network VISTA Wuhye Chun and MLK Solid Ground VISTA Bri Kame.

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Wuhye: Making Connections

I had a really good experience visiting with Asian Counseling and Referral Service’s Indo-China Chinese Elderly Association (ICCEA) congregate meal program.  I had arranged a time to meet the president of ICCEA because he wanted to nominate a volunteer for our Volunteer of the Month program. It was a very positive interaction because not only was he very helpful with getting the Volunteer of the Month nomination and a photo of the volunteer, he also treated me and my fellow Asian Counseling and Referral Service VISTA to lunch.  It was a great opportunity to get to know a community contact on a more personal level.

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Wuhye: Saying “Thank you!”

Last quarter we mailed out postcards to around 500 volunteers to thank them for their service to Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS). Many of our off-site volunteers have limited English skills. In order to have the message of the postcard interpreted to our off-site volunteers, I worked with ACRS staff to visit each site and hand deliver these postcards. Not only did we want all of our volunteers to understand our positive message, but we wanted to show appreciation.

Here is the message we sent out to thank our volunteers–
Thank you for your ongoing commitment and dedication volunteering with ACRS! Your efforts directly support the well-being of our clients, and we truly appreciate your service. Because of you, this year’s 22nd Annual Walk for Rice raised almost $200,000 for the ACRS Food Bank! We couldn’t provide so many services, reach so many clients (23,000+ a year) and put on so many successful events without you.

Please stay connected with ACRS. “Like” us on Facebook:

Thank you again!
The ACRS Volunteer Program

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Wuhye: Walk for Rice

Something that stood out this past quarter was my involvement with ACRS’s 22nd Annual Walk for Rice. This was a very exciting fundraising event and my first time helping out at such a large event (over 125 volunteers, over 300 volunteer hours, $200,000 earned!). I helped with event coordination and managing our event volunteers. I also helped with recruiting and training volunteers for the event. It was a great learning experience.

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Wuhye: Great Volunteers!

As I’ve been giving more volunteer orientations, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet a lot of new volunteers and met a particular volunteer who I really connected with. She showed such an interest in volunteering, and our orientation lasted well over the regular time. She enjoyed the orientation so much that she gave me a hug and called the day after to show her appreciation. I hope to meet more volunteers like her.

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Wuhye: Volunteer Appreciation BBQ

During the month of June, the Employment and Citizenship department at Asian Counseling and Referral Service held a Volunteer Appreciation BBQ. Employment & Citizenship volunteers, AmeriCorps members, and interns were invited. It was a great time to get to know other volunteers as well as staff members.  It gave me some ideas on volunteer recognition events that I can use in my role as ACRS’s Volunteer Program Assistant.


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Wuhye: Volunteer of the Month

I have taken over responsibility of the Volunteer of the Month program at Asian Counseling and Referral Service. Michelle, our Club Bamboo kitchen helper volunteer, was the first Volunteer of the Month I helped recognize. I felt even more connected to Michelle’s story because we volunteered together at Club Bamboo. I really enjoyed recognizing and giving the Volunteer of the Month award to Michelle. It was great seeing her happy and letting her know we appreciated her time with us.

Michelle was a volunteer that came to us last year because she was unemployed and didn’t know what to do after college. As she volunteered, she felt connected and appreciated in her community. She enjoyed her time so much that she decided to change her career path. She is now pursuing a degree in hospitality and management in Switzerland.

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Introductions – Meet Wuhye

Over the next few days, we’ll be giving you some more insight into who we are and where we work.

Wuhye Chun

Volunteer Program Assistant

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Wuhye is an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Program Assistant with the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, an organization that empowers Asian communities by providing access to a broad range of social services. She grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington Tacoma with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. During her studies, she got a chance to study abroad, igniting her interest in different cultures and languages. During this time, she also volunteered at different nonprofits and decided to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.

Asian Counseling and Referral Service

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS) was founded in 1973 out of a grassroots effort. During that time, Asian Pacific Americans were at risk of misdiagnosis and receiving inappropriate care from service providers unfamiliar with their culture and language. Today, ACRS provides a continuum of services for primarily low-income, immigrant, refugee, American-born Asians and Pacific Islanders through 13 programs.

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