2011 INSPIRE CHINATOWN:
Oakland, CA – Oakland Digital (ODALC) collaborated with Stanford University’s Volunteers in Asia (VIA) Program to facilitate a volunteer project in Oakland Chinatown conducted by university students from Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.
This student group conducted surveys of small businesses and restaurant owners in the Oakland Chinatown area as well as the neighboring areas in August 2011. The purpose of these surveys was to gauge the owners’ technological proficiency and comfort level with utilizing the Internet for business purposes, as well as formulating a consensus on the needs and technological deficiencies that the local commercial community has. The surveys also ascertained which businesses were interested in utilizing a system of security cameras, and what reasons prevented these businesses from already installing one.
ODALC’s goal is to empower economically disadvantaged communities with Internet education and digital literacy classes. Located at the edge of Chinatown in downtown Oakland, ODALC is working to help the community flourish through technology, innovation and cross-cultural collaboration. In addition to their Inspire Oakland program, ODALC hosts technology classes for low-income small business owners, presents digital media symposiums, and conducts its annual Inspiration Awards, honoring leaders in technology and community building.
Stanford University’s VIA program provides innovative experiential learning programs in Asia and the United States that promote cross-cultural understanding, build partnerships, and offer transformative experiences for their participants and the communities they serve. Specifically, the student group is part of VIA Asia-US Service Learning (AUSL) Program. The AUSL Program is a four-week intensive program that brings together Stanford student coordinators with their peers from Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan to engage in social issues and share approaches for creating social change.
ODALC’s volunteer project allowed the student group to help develop the surveys, including allowing the students to translate these surveys from English to Mandarin and Cantonese. At the conclusion of this project the students were able to present their findings and conclusions from surveying the local businesses to members of the ODALC staff and board at East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF).
Students were able to draw from this project as a cross-cultural experience, in surveying a largely Asian-American business community and seeing what technological and language barriers are needed to be overcome. With this partnership, ODALC and VIA AUSL Program aspire to bring technological innovation to an underserved community with their public service project.
CONTACT: Serenity Thuy Nguyen, firstname.lastname@example.org