History of LIFE and Discovery Center
In 2005, we founded the Learning Institute of Enrichment and Discovery, Inc (L&D), the parent entity of Asian American Center of Frederick (AACF) because there was a need for additional academic enrichment in the immigrant community. The name was changed to focus on the Asian American Community, as the Board of Directors recognized the continued unmet needs because of lack of resources. Dispite the name, AACF’s door remains open to all. Though diversity and multiculturalism are what makes America great, AACF soon recognized too often newcomers / minorities are not able to contribute the full extent of what they have to offer, due to acculturation process, language and cultural barriers. It is simply because they don’t have access to the resources or tools needed to navigate the American way of life to succeed. AACF’s vision further refined to build a stronger community through integration. Therefore, specific missions that include enhancement, empowerment and enrichment are integrated, striving to this vision. AACF posits itself as the only community based entity in this county, it embraces and serves all ethnic groups and demonstrates the true meaning of inclusiveness in to promote cultural diversity. Today, AACF is one of the most culturally diverse groups in Frederick and helps to educate the public about the Asian culture through enrichment activities, and serves a greater purpose of enhancing services for all new. Last but not least, AACF provides education and training to them, reaching their full potential as American citizens in order to succeed.
Below are a few milestones from the agency’s history:
2005 – The Learning Institute of Enrichment & Discovery (Parental agency of AACF) was established as a 501(C)(3) entity in Maryland.
2006 – The first Chinese Summer Camp was held.
2007 – The first year of STARTALK Chinese Summer Studies was held in partnership with the Frederick County Public School.
2007 – Center dramatically increased involvement and knowledge base of minority health issues.
2008 – LIFE and Discovery ran the first Asian American Health Fair, which was highly successful.
2009 – Center helped refugees from Burma acclimate and become citizens of America.
2010 – LIFE and Discovery hosted Lunar New Year Celebration, STARTALK Chinese educational program and a Health Fair; received recognition from Senator Barbara Mikulski.
2011 – Asian American Center of Frederick conceived, replaced LIFE and Discovery in following year.
2012 – Asian American Center of Frederick received recognition and praise from local and state government for its work.
2013 – Attended Annual Cardiovascular Conference, Cancer Coalition meeting and other events to increase knowledge of minority health disparities.
2014 – Ran Farming for Healthy Futures Summer Program.
2015 – Began Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Some milestones from the agency’s history include:
- Leveraged more than $3,000,000 of services, goods and scholarships to Frederick County residents.
- Provided Community FREE health screening to more than 3,000 since 2008.
- Provided outreach and assistance to help more than 400 Legal Permanent Residents successfully complete their citizenship test.
- Developed a free STARTALK Chinese Language program for more than 350 students, 2008-present.
- Reached more than 50,000 community members regarding minority health and health disparity issues annually.
- Provided over 15,000 hours of volunteer services annually.
Learn more about our agency in this interview with our Executive Director, Elizabeth Chung.
“AACF supports ethnic minorities and immigrants so that they can live the American Dream.”
AACF “ENHANCES” community services through improving access, referral and information: assistance with health insurance enrollment, interpreter / translation services, sponsoring an annual community health fair, care-coordination, and conducting community outreach and health education.
AACF “EMPOWERS” local communities through education and training: Citizen Integrated Services, interpreter training, mentoring, volunteer, and technical assistance and advocacy for health equity, higher education and workforce development. AACF is also engaged in coalition building.
AACF “ENRICHES” Frederick’s cultural richness through multi-ethnic events and diverse programs. AACF has the most diverse workforce and Board of Directors.