The culture of community service in the Asian American community

The one thing I have really noticed in the Asian American community and the Laotian American community is the lack of understanding what it means to volunteer in the community. Many of the Asian American community and Laotian American community don’t understand what volunteering means. Often times they have this misunderstanding what it means to volunteer and giving back to the community. Many times they think volunteering is meaningless because culturally they want something back in a form of money for their time or that they think they are not getting any thing out of volunteering. In many cases, the lack of understanding what it means to volunteer in the Asian American community and Laotian American community is why it’s so difficult to get Asian American community and Laotian American community to understand the value of Volunteering.

For me as a 1st generation Asian American and Laotian America, I do see the value in volunteering that the older immigrant Asian American and Laotian American don’t see. The older immigrant Asian American and Laotian American don’t seem to understand that volunteering is a western culture and don’t understand that volunteering brings many things to the table. I try to show them that volunteering brings many benefits to the Asian American and Laotian American such as socialization and meeting many new people outside of the Asian American and Laotian American community. What many Asian American and Laotian American don’t get is that volunteering in the community is a great way to meet new people outside of our community and also it’s a great way to show the community about the Asian American and Laotian American community as well. Another great thing about volunteering is getting free job training and learning job skills that can help them land a job later down the road.

What I often think that the Asian American and Laotian American community thinks of volunteering is those who volunteer to join the US Military. It’s sad because the Asian American and Laotian American has a very narrow view on what it means to volunteer for the community and don’t see the tangible benefits. They don’t see that volunteering can help them land a job down the road. That’s why in the Asian American and Laotian American community, it’s an obsession of money and status. It’s something that’s driven deeply in the culture and something I am trying to break free of in this country.

For myself, volunteering is a great way to socialize and meet people. I don’t get that chance to socialize when I am stuck at home. So volunteering for me is a way to get out of the Asian American and Laotian American community and meet people outside of my community. The other benefit I get is the fact that I get free job training and being able to learn a skill can often times help me network and land a job down the road. Which often times, many Asian American and Laotian American don’t understand the power of networking in landing a job.

That’s why as an Asian American and Laotian American, I volunteer as a Firefighter/EMT for the community because it helps me build job skills, networking and get’s me to socialize outside of the Asian American and Laotian American community and to develop friends outside of the Asian American and Laotian American community. It’s why I try my hardest to break the mold and stereotypes in the Asian American and Laotian American community about volunteering in the community. Their’s more value in volunteering than just money upfront. It’s value in networking, job training and socialization. It’s also making friends and contacts as well.