by Yang Song

Guest Blogger, Volunteer Coordinator at Asian Association of Utah

Thanks to the Commission on Volunteers Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Grant the Asian Association of Utah’s Refugee and Immigration Center was able to make great strides to increase the number of people who serve in meaningful roles as volunteers and build awareness about volunteer opportunities while serving a community need—in our case, Salt Lake County’s refugee community.

On January 16, 2012 fifteen volunteers worked to make improvements to AAU’s new downtown building. volunteers from two community organizations—one from the Chinese Society of Salt Lake City and another one is 4 Charity Volunteer Group—The new facility is double the size of the agency’s old building, allowing the AAU to expand services by 20% within the first year. Under the direction, the volunteers made numerous improvements to the new building including: painting the railings of two stairways and bathrooms, setting up computer lab, cleaning out the old building, and unpacking boxes at the new building. The improvements made greatly enhanced the safety, convenience, and furnishing of the new building, enabling AAU to surround our refugee families in a functional, safe, and welcoming environment, which we hope will let them know they are valuable to our community. It is AAU’s goal to make our new home as inviting and professional as possible for the nearly 2,000 refuges we serve each year.

These volunteer projects also allowed AAU to make long-lasting relations with two incredibly competent and hard working organizations. Not only did these dedicated volunteers put in a combined 65 hours of service, but they did it on Saturday morning no less. The Asian Association of Utah’s Refugee and Immigration Center, on behalf the hundreds of refugee clients we serve, is deeply grateful to the volunteers who dedicated their time and energy and the United Way for making the projects possible.