ACS volunteers, from left, Dai Vu, Cuc Vu, Marie Tran, Tien Phan, Peiju Picard and Kim Tran.
By CARLSO GALLEGO
AAP contributing writer
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (Dec. 8, 2011) — Nearly 100 people attended an intimate Holiday and Recognition ceremony to recognize the significant contributions made by local individuals and organizations in their efforts to educate the community about cancer prevention, access to cancer screenings and treatment.
Individuals in attendance represented historically underserved communities such as African American, American Indian and Latino Americans well as from the newer Americans such as Karen, Somali, Laotian and Vietnamese. The event was organized by the ACS Midwest Division’s Health Equity Department. The MC was Joenell Henry-Tanner, ACS Vice President.
Rev. Dennis M. Oglesby Jr., Senior Pastor, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, Minneapolis served as the event’s keynote speaker. He started his presentation stating that although he was a preacher, he was not here to preach to us.
While Oglesby did not preach, his oratory talents did not go without notice as his skills brought forth an inspiring presentation on the importance of those who give service to others.
Although legends such as Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King Jr. gave much to the world, he noted that there are people within our communities that also have an enormous impact. He stated that although to the world you may be just one person, that you may be the world for one person.
He continued by noting that often we do not know the difference our service makes. “You are an agent of transformation individually and collectively,” said Oglesby.
Self-Service in itself is meaningless he reminded us. It is service to others that is important and takes effort. “Self-service requires someone to pat you on the back . . . true service is about the quality of the effort to make a difference, Self-service is selective about who you serve.”
Oglesby continued noting there are many that do things for others, yet it is really all about them and the attention or recognition they gain. Service on the other hand, is about being selfless and being genuine in ones efforts to help others and does not require a reward or acknowledgement from others.
The role volunteers play in the success in effectively reaching communities is vital according to Dai Vu, ACS Community Partnership Specialist, Midwest Division. According to Vu, volunteers are a part of the community and have experience about the community needs and can help lead and guide staff.
Vu noted that historically, many organizations would go into communities trying to implement a program or activity without getting community input only to find events failed or were not a good fit. However, with the use of community volunteers organizations such as hers are able to create events and tailor activities that are relevant to the needs of a specific community. Vu continued stating that often their volunteers serve as their guides to the community.
When as what worked well this past year, Vu stated that it was not something that had occurred just this year but rather an accumulation of their work over the past several years.
Those in the Southeast Asian community began to call attention to themselves. The perception Asians were the model minority has worked against them.
Many non-profits and cancer organizations have taken this misconception to heart and not given the necessary attention to the Asian communities. She noted there are many significant health issues facing their communities that must be addressed.
Community members are starting to see how Cancer is killing so many within their community, to this end, they are raising awareness and speaking out as they advocate for an increase of programs and services to address their community needs.
Some of the organizations participating in ACS community events the year’s events included St. Adelbert Catholic Church, St. Joseph Hein Catholic Church, St. Columbo Church Phat An Temple, Lao Assistance Center, KFAI Vietnamese Radio, Vietnamese Social Services McDonough Public Housing and NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center.
Some events which took place in the community included a Hmong Resource Fair, Karen Community information sessions, See Test & Treat Event at NorthPoint, MDH SAGE Programs and screening events through the Vietnamese faith communities.
For more information on Cancer outreach efforts in the community contact Dai Vu at 651-255-8180 [email protected]