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A Frederick County Asian American center transforms lives across all backgrounds

Frederick County Asian American center lifts people with all backgrounds
Frederick County Asian American center lifts people with all backgrounds 02:04

FREDERICK -- There's an organization in Frederick that has Asian American in its name, but their work helps families of all backgrounds.

Inside the Asian American Center of Frederick's Family Services office, it looks like any other typical office.

But, it's home to early childhood education, as well as several adult classes -- that includes a fitness class.

Elizabeth Chung, the AACF's founder and executive director, said all of this started as after-school programming for immigrant families in 2004.

"There wasn't too much over here [at the time], so I started having classes in reading and math," she said.

Their services -- most of which are free -- include helping people get their U.S. citizenship.

"Our country is strong because of the diversity we have," Chung said.

Van Hmun, originally from Burma, credits the center for helping him attain his citizenship in 2015.

Through a translator, Hmun told WJZ the center helped him with the entire process: from getting his permanent residency to studying for the citizenship test.

Years after he became a citizen, Hmun brought his mother, Sui Can, to Frederick. She's now studying for her citizenship test.

With the help of a translator, Can told WJZ the center has helped her and her husband get much-needed medical services for free.

The center also puts on cultural events, like Asia on the Creek. This is a yearly festival held in downtown Frederick to commemorate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

With all of the center's programming, the goal is to ensure everyone in Frederick has a chance to contribute in the community -- by giving them the tools to succeed.

"It's just the right thing to do. You really take care of the family as a whole, you look at different needs [families] have, and we partner [with other organizations]," Chung said. "One very collective effort to make this longterm impact."

This year's Asia on the Creek event will be on June 1. There will be a ceremony to honor AAPI veterans. It's free to the public.

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