Iu Mien Community Services

Iu Mien Community Services

Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic group rooted in the mountainous regions of Southern China to Laos. Storytelling, basketry, complex embroidery and jewelry-making are a few examples of our rich cultural traditions. During the Vietnam War, Laotian Iu Mien were recruited along with other Southeast Asians to assist United States

Iu Mien Community Services

Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic group rooted in the mountainous regions of Southern China to Laos. Storytelling, basketry, complex embroidery and jewelry-making are a few examples of our rich cultural traditions. During the Vietnam War, Laotian Iu Mien were recruited along with other Southeast Asians to assist United States forces. Many lives were lost in efforts to prevent the spread of communism. In the mid-1970s, the first waves of Iu Mien refugees from Laos arrived in California. Today, Sacramento is home to over 14,000 Iu Mien outside of Southeast Asia. Iu Mien Community Services endeavors to link Iu Mien people with access to local community services, empowerment of the community to succeed in transitioning to America, and to raise the awareness of the mainstream community about this dynamic population. Since 2001, IMCS has been the only non-profit organization specifically serving the Iu Mien Community. Over the past 5 years, we have grown tremendously by expanding to six programs and services. With the guidance of our emerging professionals from our eclectic board of directors, we are committed to continue the much needed work and visibility to support and promote the advancement of the Iu Mien community in the Greater Sacramento Region.

About the Organization:

Iu Mien are a vibrant ethnic group rooted in the mountainous regions of Southern China to Laos. Storytelling, basketry, complex embroidery and jewelry-making are a few examples of our rich cultural traditions. During the Vietnam War, Laotian Iu Mien were recruited along with other Southeast Asians to assist United States forces. Many lives were lost in efforts to prevent the spread of communism. In the mid-1970s, the first waves of Iu Mien refugees from Laos arrived in California. Today, Sacramento is home to over 14,000 Iu Mien outside of Southeast Asia. Iu Mien Community Services endeavors to link Iu Mien people with access to local community services, empowerment of the community to succeed in transitioning to America, and to raise the awareness of the mainstream community about this dynamic population. Since 2001, IMCS has been the only non-profit organization specifically serving the Iu Mien Community. Over the past 5 years, we have grown tremendously by expanding to six programs and services. With the guidance of our emerging professionals from our eclectic board of directors, we are committed to continue the much needed work and visibility to support and promote the advancement of the Iu Mien community in the Greater Sacramento Region.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

26-30 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

26-30 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

California

The Issue:

Although the Iu Mien people have been in the US for over 40 years, we still lack visibility. Despite having the biggest population of the Iu Mien people residing in Sacramento, California; every day we encounter individuals who have never heard of our people. There are no quantitative or qualitative data on how many Iu Mien individuals there are because there is no disaggregated data for the Iu Mien people; we are often incorrectly grouped with the Lao people. This lack of acknowledgement has negatively impacted all aspects of the advancement of our community, primarily providing social and health resources for our seniors and empowerment for our youth. Prior to the establishment of IMCS, our Iu Mien community leaders were dishearten to see the lack of assistance for our community and lack of career advancement; therefore, they established IMCS to become a hub of resources for the Iu Mien community. Because the language barrier continues to be a big obstacle for our community, IMCS is the only Iu Mien focused non-profit organization to provide those resources. Our work will never be complete until we are able to shine a light on our beautiful culture and the contributions we can provide for the greater community.

The Solution:

We currently have two main programs which focuses on providing vital resources to our seniors and promoting secondary education and identity to our youth. Our Healthy Village Senior Group provides a crucial means of conveying mental health and other health related concerns, social and educational support to our most vulnerable senior population. This biweekly, peer run group, allows participants to share stories, current events, community resources, as well as learn from resource providers. The group often has guest speakers from local community providers that educate about healthy living, management of chronic diseases, and nutrition. Because the majority of our seniors do not speak nor write English, our teaching methods often includes verbal communication in the Iu Mien language and photos instead of words to indicate certain health education materials. We host an annual Senior Lunar New Year Celebration at the beginning of the year. The celebration showcases our Iu Mien traditional new year celebration with participants wearing traditional clothing and performances of traditional dances and songs. These events also allow the elderly participants to take leadership roles and take ownership of the event. The event is open to public which helps provide visibility to our community. Our longest running program, the annual Iu Mien Student Conference (IMSC), has a three-fold mission: to (1) empower youth to pursue higher education and/or explore career opportunities, (2) educate youth on the importance of preserving ethnic culture, and (3) inspire youth to become community leaders. Just finishing its 21st year this past April, the one-day conference provides Iu Mien high school and middle school students with motivational guest speakers and interactive workshops that help them understand the importance of completing high school, college education, and embracing their cultural identity. Held on a college campus, it offers the students a vision of how they can be successful contributors to their family and community, thus bringing visibility and pride to their family and Iu Mien community. IMSC has positively impacted the lives of over 10,000 students.

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