Good Luck, Hannah Wu!

Hannah Wu has been a longtime fixture at Wu Yee Children's Services. She started at Little Sprouts as an infant, then moved to Lok Yuen and Generations preschools; all within San Francisco's Chinatown. Hannah has spent more than four years with Wu Yee!

"I feel very comfortable and safe with Wu Yee," said Helen Wu, Hannah's mother.  "I have lots of support from the teachers and managers," she said.  

In the fall, Hannah will transition out of Wu Yee's child development centers and into Kindergarten.  Helen said she is looking forward to new challenges and new friends at Hannah's new school.  "I am proud of her learning and development," Helen said.

Hannah's teacher at Little Sprouts, Doreen Zhao, saw a lot of growth in Hannah's personality and social development.  She said Hannah was shy and crying when she first started at Little Sprouts, but after she developed trust, her personality opened up and she began to build relationships with other children.  During her time at Little Sprouts and continuing on to preschool, Hannah loved singing songs, listening to stories and drawing.  

From all of us at Wu Yee Children's Services, we are so proud of you, Hannah!  We look forward to your bright future.  

End of Year Celebrations at Wu Yee Child Development Centers

The end of July marked a joyous time for Wu Yee Children's Services' child development center participants as they celebrated the transition of many children from Early Head Start to Head Start programs, and from Head Start to Kindergarten. 

Kids, their families, and teachers gathered at the centers in a happy mood to celebrate the children's accomplishments of making friends, sharing with their peers, and creating community.  Activities such as face painting, singing songs, and story time were enjoyed by all. From everyone at Wu Yee Children's Services: Good luck to our children transitioning to new schools and programs, and we hope to see you soon in the coming program year!

Welcome to Wu Yee Children's Services

Families with children joining a Wu Yee Child Development program or transitioning to a new classroom at Wu Yee Children's Services attended orientations at three different locations in San Francisco this week.  Jenny Yu, Regional Manager, said, "We planned six family orientations in three different neighborhoods to ensure more families can attend". Additionally, Chinese and Spanish speaking translators were available to support the families. 

Parents and families were briefed on the services Wu Yee Children's Services offers families, children, and pregnant mothers, and received the tri-lingual 2017-2018 Family Handbook. In addition to Head Start and Early Head Start programs, Wu Yee Children's Services offers Home Based services for pregnant mothers, parent support groups and workshops, a lending library and playroom, and family playgroups at the Joy Lok Family Resource Center.  

Associate Program Director, Kimberly Jones, spoke of Wu Yee's belief in creating a warm, safe and stable environment for all children, families, volunteers, guests and staff.  She emphasized providing strategies for addressing the needs of all children, including dual language learners and those who have special needs. Jones spoke of Wu Yee's mission: creating opportunities for children to be healthy, for families to thrive and for communities to be strong.  An Early Head Start parent echoed the sentiment of Wu Yee's mission, stating that Wu Yee cares not only about the child, but also supporting healthy families.  He said, "San Francisco is really expensive, both parents need to be working.  Wu Yee offers a great opportunity for parents to return to work."  

Theater of the Oppressed

Child Development staff from Wu Yee Children's Services and other San Francisco early childhood education organizations convened at the First 5 San Francisco offices to participate in week-long seminar to foster the development of bicultural and bilingual educators.  The workshop, Theater of the Oppressed, "is a collection of practices and exercises where participants rehearse with their bodies a solution for oppressive situations," said Ronald Rosario, co-facilitator of the workshop.  "It is a way to gain critical consciousness through reconstruction of their narratives," he said.  

Theater of the Oppressed is a series of theatrical analyses and critiques that use theater techniques, exercises, and games as a vehicle for transforming  communities and effecting social and political change. It is a method of harnessing theatrical forms to heal communities and stop cycles of oppression.  

The workshop is co-sponsored by Wu Yee Children's Services and First 5 San Francisco, and designed by the Center for Linguistic and Cultural Democracy.  Rosario, and his co-facilitator, Pedro Adorno, discussed with participants their external and internal barriers toward moving forward in their jobs and professional development.  Adorno addressed the need for emotional support in performing the important job of educator, saying, "we need to be listened to, only then can we listen to others.”  Theater of the Oppressed’s framework is used to address repressive/oppressive cycles and can help break destructive habits, that sometimes inadvertently are passed on to children. 

Participants asked and answered questions such as, who are we as teachers?  An anonymous participant said, "I like working with kids because I can be myself.  I know they will accept me for who I am."  Another participant spoke of the sacrifices she made to do her job, saying," I took a risk. I gave things up to be here."  These testaments are methods of asserting one's self and addressing hardships, fears, and barriers to moving forward in one's career.  Participants identified values such as inclusion, cultural sensitivity, and critical thinking as essential to bicultural and bilingual educators.  

Rosario and Adorno studied with Augusto Boal, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and creator of Theater of the Oppressed. Rosario, a philosopher and poet, and Adorno, a theater and film director make a perfect team as co-facilitators.  With Adorno cleverly coaxing the shyest participants out of their shells, and Rosario providing support, people spoke honestly, thought critically and  interacted enthusiastically.  Wu Yee Child Development staff will return to their centers next week inspired and motivated to put concepts such as creating an emotional response, upending the traditional power dynamic, and breaking destructive behavioral habits to good use in their work.

Wu Yee introduces partnerships in Early Childhood Education career training

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Career Pathway Program is a collaboration between Jewish Vocational Services (JVS), City College of San Francisco (CCSF), and Wu Yee Children's Services. This new exciting program is exclusively for parents between the ages 18-24 who have children connected to Wu Yee.

We are very excited to have nine total graduates in the first year of this program with three job placements and three job placements in process! Participants have worked hard to gain opportunities and set goals, with six participants obtaining their Child Development permit. We are looking forward to learning about the bright futures of all participants and seeing their contributions in our classrooms. Stay tuned for more updates and interviews with graduates and instructors!

We are recruiting new participants to start in Fall 2017. For more information please contact Julia L. Nieves, Early Learning Coach at 415.230.7568 or Se habla Español.

Programs like our ECE Career Pathway Program are essential for building a robust and qualified workforce to meet the needs of our children. We need your support now to continue our work. Please make a gift today and consider joining our 40th Anniversary Giving Circle

Wu Yee means "Protector of Children"

Dear Wu Yee Community,

     Over forty years ago, our founders saw the desperate need for child care for immigrant parents working for low wages in Chinatown. When the Nixon administration threatened to cut funding for social services in the early 70’s, parents, social workers, and teachers in San Francisco realized that creating a child development center alone wouldn’t be enough to help all families, they needed everyone in the community to raise their voices together to create lasting change that would involve engaging in social, economic, and political issues. 

    This paved the way for the formation of the Association of Children’s Rights, later renamed Wu Yee Children’s Services, to advocate for child care services and early childhood education for immigrants and underserved families in Chinatown. The name Wu Yee, coined by co-founder Catherine Ko, has become a metaphor representing the value we hold in each person’s unique name, identity, and story to promote intercultural awareness and collaboration. “Wu Yee” means “Protector of Children” in Cantonese, which represents the core value and mission of our organization. It also pays homage to the Chinese cultural origin and heritage of the majority of the original service recipients who faced discrimination and were excluded from public services and employment opportunities. Today, we serve families from all different cultures and backgrounds, and we are proud of our name as it recalls the history of the first child care center in Chinatown that was established by the joint forces of children’s services providers and immigrant parents who were both service recipients and advocates for children’s rights.

      In response to the mainstream opposition of immigrants in America during the 70’s, Wu Yee became a pioneering agency in developing multicultural preschool curricula for students. Teachers were free to experiment with different activities that introduced other languages, customs, and holidays to encourage and support students in developing self-esteem and a strong sense of identity. Teachers attended workshops, exchanged ideas with other child care centers, and partnered with parents to design lesson plans that reflected the students’ diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
     Today, Wu Yee continues to advocate for the rights of all children to be safe, healthy, and happy as San Francisco’s largest Head Start/Early Head Start providerWith city-wide child development centers, home visitors, and Family Child Care partners, Wu Yee connects thousands of parents to services through its Child Care Resource and Referrals and Joy Lok Family Resource Center, and ensures high quality early care and education throughout the city through its Early Child Development and Child Care Provider Training Program.
     San Francisco’s progressive spirit has deep roots within immigrant, migrant, and refugee communities; from Chinatown to the Bayview, each culture has brought new and shared values that strengthen our greater community. At Wu Yee, as parents, staff, and community members, we are one big family sharing the same vision and responsibilities for the future of our next generation. Be a part of history and consider joining as a 40th Anniversary Giving Circle donor. We are grateful for your support of Wu Yee and would appreciate your generous support again this year. Together, through high-quality care and education for our children we will continue to build thriving families and strong communities.

Thank you for being part of our family.

Monica Walters, CEO

Monica Walters, CEO





p.s. Wu Yee has thrived over the past forty years because of dedicated supporters like you, and we hope you will support us again this year!  If you attended a Wu Yee gala in the past, we thank you. Please note, we will not be hosting a gala this year and hope you will support our 40th Anniversary Giving Circle and events planned in lieu of the gala. Thank you to our 40th Anniversary Giving Circle donors!

After Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Wu Yee is part of the API Council, a citywide coalition of non-profit organizations that ensure underserved A&PI needs are addressed and represented in policies, research and data and equitable funding allocation. The following article was posted on Medium on June 9 by Cally Wong, Director of the API Council.

As Asian Pacific American Heritage Month has come to a close, the API Council is eager to forge ahead and devise solutions that tackle some of the real problems that marginalize many Asians and Pacific Islanders (A&PIs) living in San Francisco.

There is no shortage of work to be done. Here in San Francisco the disparities that exist for A&PIs are staggering. The number of A&PIs living in poverty, that are unemployed, that are suffering from preventable diseases, is unacceptable.

Did you know, that in a city where A&PIs comprise 35% of all residents, that 42% of all low-income residents are A&PI?

Or that few A&PIs participate in anti-poverty programs, such as CalWORKs? While 4,000 families use cash assistance, childcare, and employment services offered by CalWORKs, only 14% of Chinese families living in poverty utilize these services.

We believe a sharp and growing, collective voice can help eradicate these disparities.

The API Council, a coalition of 40 non-profit community-based organizations collectively serving over 250,000 A&PIs, is a voice that strives to ensure equity in city programs serving A&PI residents.

We advocate for equity by giving a birds-eye view of the breadth and depth of the disparities facing A&PIs. We advocate for equity by raising awareness that many A&PI residents sit squarely in what is a vast pit of inequity.

This inequity is unacceptable. It is not acceptable for A&PIs to have higher incidences of preventable diseases like diabetes, or liver cancer or tuberculosis. This simply should not happen.

We advocate for equity by ensuring these statistics and lesser-known facts regarding the plight of A&PIs, is on the radar of SF policymakers, of city government, of residents citywide.

We strive for equity by committing to educating and engaging A&PIs about the importance of civic engagement. If we are to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable, we must all understand the power we wield to affect change.

API Council believes this effort to create a collective voice starts with educating individuals of the issues and actively encouraging A&PIs to utilize their voices of influence on each rung of the political ladder.

We believe that SF as a whole benefits if all individuals understand the responsibility we share in improving the lives of those most often overlooked. We believe we create change if we utilize this knowledge, make educated decisions, and issue opinions within the venues where our individual voices matter. We are fortunate to be a part of a vibrant and progressive city that proudly defends values such as diversity and equality.

We must all get involved. We must all use our voices. We must all strive for better.