2018 Keynote Speaker: Stephen Park, Founder and Executive Director of Little Lights Urban Ministries, Washington DC.
Ms. Park described her marriage as a “living hell” but she stayed with her husband all the same, afraid of being a single mother and worried about how she’d be able to make a living all by herself. Eventually she had had enough and, together with her son, left her home and moved across the country to Virginia. At first she lived in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Everything was new and felt strange – there was a language barrier with the shelter staff and she was uncomfortable eating American food at every meal. Luckily, she remembered that a police officer had suggested she contact KCSC. At last, she was able to share her story with someone spoke the same language and understood her culture.
"After I met with my DV coordinator at KCSC, I was able to sort out the confusion of my life and prepare to move on. KCSC helped me to organize my thoughts and emotions and put together a detailed and practical plan for the future."
Rebuilding her life was still very challenging! After leaving the shelter, she had to move several times to find affordable housing. Every time she moved, her son had to transfer to a new school district. He started to act up in school and was referred to KCSC’s mental health counselor for therapy. Meanwhile, during this time, KCSC established “Bodeum House”, a supportive housing program for victims of crime. While documenting her legal immigration status caused some delays, eventually she was able to move in.
KCSC connected her with the Fairfax County Public School parent liaisons who worked closely with her and helped her son to stay in the same school. Through the support of KCSC’s mental health counseling services, she and her son got the help they needed to recover from their trauma. KCSC helped her to get professional legal advice and to prepare for her day in court. As a result, she and her son are now able to reside peacefully in the US as lawful permanent residents.
Ms. Park is truly grateful to KCSC for lifting her up when she was down and for showing her the love and care she needed throughout her recovery. She is still in the process of finding stable permanent housing and solving some other issues, but now she is confident that she will continue to be successful thanks to the support she received from KCSC.
Her story is not unique. There are many others like Ms. Park who need KCSC's help and encouragement.
Join us in standing up for and empowering Asian Americans and new immigrants.
Thanks to Mr. Dong-In Kang, our superlative photographer!