Bebhinn Horrigan, the campus advisor for the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program at Pierce College in Lakewood, writes about our ongoing partnerships with several non-profit organizations in the local community. Here she describes our ongoing collaboration with the Asia Pacific Cultural Center (APCC), which has provided volunteer and internship opportunities for several NWCCI students studying at Pierce. You can also read about South African student Leon Ndlovu’s experience volunteering with APCC.
The Pierce College NWCCI Program is fortunate to partner with several amazing groups in the Lakewood area, including the Lakewood Sister Cities Association, the Lakewood Rotary and the Asia Pacific Cultural Center, just to mention a few.
The Asia Pacific Cultural Center, or APCC for short, serves the community in a variety of ways through offering cultural programs and classes that represent 47 different countries and cultures. The organization was formed as a nonprofit organization in 1996 by a small group of citizens with large vision. This small group included three generations of Americans from Asian and Pacific Island Heritage; their goal was to come together to honor and share their distinct history, artistry, social practices and business.
Under the guidance of Executive Director Lua Pritchard, the APCC currently offers cooking classes, tea ceremonies, martial arts classes, cultural camps for kids, cultural travel tours, cultural movie nights, and other larger festivals.
One of the largest events of the APCC each year is the New Year Celebration, which is held in February in honor of the Asian New Year. The celebration consists of traditional and modern cultural performances by many different countries, and one featured country, which is different each year. Many different food vendors and merchants are present as well. For the last several years, NWCCI students have been heavily involved as volunteers in the set up and running of the event; this year included. Volunteers do everything from greet guests to assist dignitaries in attendance to sell raffle tickets. It truly is an event that could be pulled off without the assistance of the volunteers who give of their time.
Beyond the volunteer opportunities, the APCC has been a source of internships for the students over the years well. NWCCI students have been involved in creating marketing strategies and materials for the organization.
As they are growing, and also have a very large building project set for the Tacoma Waterfront in 2018, I see the partnership growing as well.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.