Pacific Education, Advocacy, Research & Learning (P.E.A.R.L) Institute of New York, Inc.

Pacific Education, Advocacy, Research & Learning (P.E.A.R.L) Institute of New York, Inc.

The Pacific, Education, Research, and Learning Institute ( P.E.A.R.L. ) was founded as a non-profit organization in 1993 in California by Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community leaders to address social service policy needs and provide culturally competent human services tailored to populations from the Pacific Rim and beyond. It

Pacific Education, Advocacy, Research & Learning (P.E.A.R.L) Institute of New York, Inc.

The Pacific, Education, Research, and Learning Institute ( P.E.A.R.L. ) was founded as a non-profit organization in 1993 in California by Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community leaders to address social service policy needs and provide culturally competent human services tailored to populations from the Pacific Rim and beyond. It was re-established as P.E.A.R.L. Institute of New York, Inc in 2015. As an organization, we believe in the inherent dignity and potential of all people. Guided by values of global social justice, empowerment, and professionalism, we are devoted to bridging cultures and promoting culturally congruent social policies and direct services to AAPI communities. Specifically, we aim to integrate Western evidence-based knowledge and principles with holistic healing practices from Eastern philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine. Under the guidance of our founding president, Dr. YuHwa Eva Lu, P.E.A.R.L. develops and promotes the Self-Healing and Integrative Care (SHIC) prevention and intervention services model, which integrates traditional Chinese Medicine, mindfulness practice and spiritual-awareness Be it in research, advocacy, or education, we champion body, mind, social, and spiritual wellness.

About the Organization:

The Pacific, Education, Research, and Learning Institute ( P.E.A.R.L. ) was founded as a non-profit organization in 1993 in California by Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community leaders to address social service policy needs and provide culturally competent human services tailored to populations from the Pacific Rim and beyond. It was re-established as P.E.A.R.L. Institute of New York, Inc in 2015. As an organization, we believe in the inherent dignity and potential of all people. Guided by values of global social justice, empowerment, and professionalism, we are devoted to bridging cultures and promoting culturally congruent social policies and direct services to AAPI communities. Specifically, we aim to integrate Western evidence-based knowledge and principles with holistic healing practices from Eastern philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine. Under the guidance of our founding president, Dr. YuHwa Eva Lu, P.E.A.R.L. develops and promotes the Self-Healing and Integrative Care (SHIC) prevention and intervention services model, which integrates traditional Chinese Medicine, mindfulness practice and spiritual-awareness Be it in research, advocacy, or education, we champion body, mind, social, and spiritual wellness.

organizational budget

$50,000 - $100,000

existence for

26-30 YEARS

The Issue:

The P.E.A.R.L. Institute aims to address the lack of access and utilization to culturally-competent services for AAPI communities and thus improve the general well-being of AAPI communities, especially, but not limited to, Chinese-speaking older adults and international students residing in New York City (NYC).

Per the 2019 census data, there are an estimated 1.2 million AAPI residents living in the 5 boroughs, making up approximately 14% of NYC’s total population. 845,000 are immigrants, an estimated 13% of whom are undocumented. AAPI immigrants have one of the highest poverty rates of all NYC immigrant groups (24%), and ¾ of Chinese immigrants have limited English proficiency. AAPIs are also less likely to seek treatment- nearly ¾ of AAPI adults nationwide with a need for mental health services have not received professional treatment, and most usually ask for informal help from friends and family members.

Evidently, language and cultural barriers have led to the underutilization of health and social services among API adults, particularly among older adults. A 2018 study reported that Asian American elders had lower life satisfaction and emotional/social support compared to their counterparts, which further underlines the need to have culturally tailored services for this subpopulation.

Additionally, 2/3 of NYC AAPI immigrants are essential workers, who, since COVID-19, have had to deal with burnout, hate crimes and racial abuse. AAPI elders were more likely to be victims of such harassment. As noted by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, “API immigrants continue to experience a recurring dynamic of “othering,” which underlies the increasing xenophobia and anti-API hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PEARL intends to serve international students from Asian countries, particularly those with English as their second language (ESL). For instance, there are about 21,000 international students at New York University (NYU), with an overwhelming number from Asian countries-nearly half from China alone. International students face unique challenges, such as cultural isolation and unmet social needs. Although the universities’ international offices serve as a key resource for these students, availability of such services are inadequate to comprehensively meet their needs.

The Solution:

We seek to expand our capacity to fulfill the Advocacy portion of PEARL’s mission by opening a Wellness Center to provide direct services provided by licensed social workers and therapists, as well as workshops and training, by healing practitioners in various fields.

The Wellness Center will offer the following:
Individual counseling sessions (in person & online) provided by licensed social worker/therapists Peer support groups (in person & online) for international students Eastern practice workshops for professionals, interns, volunteers, and staff at NYC-based organizations who want to better relate to their AAPI clients Wellbeing workshops promoting self-healing practices at low costs Connecting international students and older adults in the community, forming intergenerational pairs Legal and health services referral Mental health hotline service provided by trained, multilingual paraprofessionals, interns, and volunteers
The Wellness Center continues to be informed by and works in tandem with the P.E.A.R.L. Institute’s research component, which includes integrating Western medicine and Eastern practices as well as capturing the challenges faced by AAPI communities and identifying evidence-based solutions.

Our Peer Support service provides a more fulfilling and welcoming outlet for service recipients. It removes the stigma against psychiatry and the potential generational gaps often experienced by recipients (where youth would feel misunderstood by adults, and elderly would feel isolated from younger generations). The structure of peer support group sessions would integrate the S.H.I.C. ideals where self-healing and social support plays a central role.

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